No Remorse by Robert Crouch
- Crime Fiction
- British Detective
An old man dead. Dementia or murder? Threats won’t stop Kent Fisher from finding out.
At luxury retirement home, Nightingales, appearance matters more than the truth. But what is the truth? Was Anthony Trimble killed as he predicted? If so, who wanted him out of the way, and why?
Kent puzzles over the only clue Trimble left him. Do the numbers come from a takeaway menu or are they a mysterious code that could reveal his darkest secret?
As Kent digs deep, people start dying.
Will Kent win the race to discover the truth, or become the next victim?
My grateful thanks to Kelly for allowing me to post a blog about the people who inspired my writing journey.
Let me start with a confession. I’m not an easy person to impress. It’s not because I’ve seen it all before. I’m not particularly clever or a perfectionist, but my standards are high.
You have to be outstanding, funny and different to raise my eyebrows.
And the first character to fulfil those requirements and inspire me was not a person, but a cowardly Great Dane that burst onto my TV screen in the early 1970s.
Imagine, a dog solving mysteries in between giant snacks. How cool is that? Cool enough for me to have my photo taken with my hero many years later in Florida. Scooby Doo captured my imagination and showed me how you could bring something new and funny to the game.
The author, Tom Sharpe, had me roaring with laughter with Wilt and Riotous Assembly, but it was the late, great Victoria Wood who knocked me sideways with her observational humour, mixing comedy with pathos without insult, offence or bad language.
Her greatest work, Dinnerladies, made me want to write a sitcom, as I still do. But most importantly, she showed me that humour is vital, even in the most desperate of times and situations.
But I was like a lost boy, poking a stick in this huge pool of ideas, desperate to write crime fiction that would be outstanding, different, funny, and suitable for the family – like Columbo, my favourite detective. He showed me just how good different could be. We know the murderer’s committed the perfect crime – until Columbo comes along and latches onto the smallest detail, tugging it like a loose thread until the whole plot unravels.
The intricate, often superlative plotting, and the little details that don’t fit, set me a benchmark. But I couldn’t write a police procedural. Even though I worked with the police in my day job as an environmental health officer, I had little idea how they solved murders.
I needed a sleuth, who could operate in the real world with all its constraints, not a writer’s alternate universe where procedures could be ignored for the sake of drama.
Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, a shrewd old lady with an indomitable will, was different enough to offer possibilities. I studied the cunning and devious plots in detail, delighted when several reviewers kindly likened my stories to those of the great writer.
All I needed now was a way to modernise the traditional whodunit.
The late, great Sue Grafton provided the answer with Kinsey Millhone, a feisty, independent Californian private detective with attitude and irreverent wit. She cared for all the right things – justice, fair play, the underdog, the helpless victim who should know better, the little guy facing down the giant corporations.
I’d found a soulmate.
Built solidly on strong characters, believable plots, and a beautifully described fictional town on the Californian coast, this was cosy crime with attitude and a heart. It was fresh, different, inventive and fun. It inspired the blueprint for the Kent Fisher mysteries.
Kent Fisher is an environmental health officer who investigates a fatal workplace accident and uncovers a murder. He becomes a sleuth by default. He already fights for the environment and runs an animal sanctuary. He stands up for justice and fair play, for the little guy, for the victims who cannot fight back. And no matter what’s thrown at him, he wisecracks his way through, playing the hand he’s dealt, solving the most intricate mysteries I can conceive.
And now, while I enjoy the Roy Grace novels by Peter James, I know that sticking to procedure adds credibility to a story, especially when a reviewer likened my writing to his.
An environmental health officer solving murders may not be everyone’s idea of a whodunit, but I hope it brings something fresh to a trusted formula, thanks to the inspiration of some great writers and characters over the years.
I think it’s time for a Scooby snack …
By Robert Crouch
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Amazon page https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01HFPCYOM
Thank you to Robert Crouch and Caroline Vincent for the opportunity to be on the blog tour.
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