Friday, November 4, 2022

And Then The Monkey Appeared.....

Oh here we go again!

Yesterday was the deadline for the 2nd book in my new series, The Girl who Wasn’t there. 

In the last 4 weeks we've had dog operations, heart scans, noravirus, the play, lots of work.... really about 6 months of events crammed into a four week period.

 There was also an adventure in an escape room with a water pistol, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy about that. Until somebody pays me enough to spill the beans.

It was the first time the play had been out since the pandemic, and we couldn’t be bothered writing anything new...well in truth we were too busy. But the way we had to keep changing the jokes about the British Prime Minister? It  might have been quicker to start afresh. The play already had a lettuce in it  - it's a joke about it being the tip of the iceberg. Are the US MIE folk aware of the lettuce that outlasted Liz Truss? The lettuce became a national hero.


                                                                  Book one in the Christine Caplan Series.

 On the day of the play the box of the authors’ copies of the 1st book in the new series arrived. I think you’ll agree it looks jolly smart. The lead character (for some reason ) was a prestigious ballet dancer before she grew too tall. The front cover shows her standing, looking at the house where an atrocity has been committed. She is supposed to sporting a chignon at the base of her neck, but in the picture it's more, as we would say in Scotland, a drug dealers doughnut – also known as a Croydon facelift as the hair is pulled so tight it flattens out the wrinkles around the eyes. I did enquire why they have changed her hairdo, and they said that if it were further down her neck the picture suggested that she was a monkey. 

Just to spite them I put a monkey in the second book.

I’ve always been rather fascinated by the List murders of 1971. I guess most people have been fascinated by how he was caught and the accuracy of the aged artist impression, even down to the guess of the sort of glasses he would wear. Famously, it turned out that he was infact, wearing those exact glasses when he was finally caught. I don’t think I’ve ever swallowed the idea that he killed his entire family and laid them out on the upstairs landing as if they were sleeping, due to his religious beliefs. He stayed in the church, had other relationships and would have lived a long and happy life if it wasn’t for America’s Most Wanted.

The scene at the top of the stairs in the List house, is also the  scene at the top of the stairs at the start of The Devil Stone.

My new detective is female, always very well dressed and at the start of the books she’s drinking green tea and eats very little, but very healthily – a remnant of her dancing days. By the end of the book she’s joining her friend Lizzy in a double shot Americano and Danish pastry. She’s been a city cop in Glasgow all her life, but is posted north to a small village to sort out nasty doings on the fictional Island of Skone, there’s a lot of water, and some dead bodies. 

The crew on stage - Letitia, Jim the cabin Boy, Nabhem the Cop, Dame Petunia, The Editor Of The Daily Whoarrrrr!

Up at Easdale there is a man made marina formed by the strategic dumping of slate from the quarry, so a slight gradual inlet now has two arms creating a large protected area of water. 

Well did we have some fun with that! I  picked up and moved it down a bit and out a bit, a  replacing of a location so it was where I wanted it. Our heroes get trapped here underneath a rubber inflatable boat after being rammed by the baddies. 

Some writer friends and I actually made some boats, and the marina, and the cave and had humans in the water. We roleplayed the whole thing, to figure out who was where and when. 

Me being sensible, interviewing Michael Malone and Sharon Bairden

An actual real human being who really annoyed me in early 2022 is run over by the speedboat, the line goes something like – "the propeller blade stuttered slightly when it  met flesh and bone". With this image in my head I can be very nice to this person's face. 

The book got a great review in Kirkus and in The Bookseller. Like  my first book, even if the plot and the characters are rubbish, the scenery is magnificent.

So after getting up at 4.30 yesterday to make the deadline on book 2, I’m now looking at a blank page for book 3. "His" suggestion is that the book is set in outer space, but then his  suggestion for the ending of any novel is – "and then the monkey appeared".

The programme

My detective has bought a project of a cottage looking out over the Sound of Etive, she is living in a caravan while her husband closes the sale of their Glasgow house. One child is at University, the daughter is living out on Skone. I’ve a feeling the builders are going to find something in a wall cavity, or under the floor boards, either a skeleton or a diary. It might be useful if they uncover a well in the garden. She takes on that investigation as a passion project.

Then a boat chugs into the harbour at nightfall.

Then the monkey appears.

The end.



  1. Congrats on the new book and series! Just checking, but new new protagonist isn't a monkey, right?

    1. If she wishes to identify as a monkey, then that's her right in Scottish Law!

  2. Yes, we in America were following the lettuce (similar to following the money...)

    What about the body that falls out of the sky and crashes through the roof of her under-renovation cottage? Strapped to the body was a monkey (which survived). A note, of course, was attached to the body, which read, "Please feed and love my monkey."

  3. I'm liking this storyline. I'm thinking that more than one monkey drops from the sky, they live in the pine forest and eventually get together. Then four of them appear and say 'hey, hey, we're the ....' Oh I think that's been done...

  4. As long as no one spanks the .... it should clear the book banners's radar.

  5. Not to try to influence your choices, Caro, but I would rather read a book about raining monkeys than a news another report about reigning monkeys. From AA