Sunday, September 03, 2006

Profile: Christopher Fowler and a Very Odd Crime Unit

A recent article in The Independent describes how Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant and May mystery series, created his curmudgeonly detective duo. Fowler's most recent mystery, Ten Second Staircase, was recently published by Bantam.Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler

"To invent your own detective, it's necessary to glance at the sleuths of the past," says Fowler. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn't need to give his famous consulting detective a quirk because at the time Sherlock Holmes was conceived, the whole idea of a consulting detective was novel. Things are different now. "So how does a writer create a memorable detective these days?", Fowler asks. "My detectives, I decided, would be old, troublesome, wayward and faintly disreputable. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to crime: the realistically detailed police procedural, usually grim and downbeat, and the more left-field, joyous theatre of ideas in which past masters once specialised."

Once the characters and location are set, it's time to write the story. "In the search for original plots, I decided to produce a modern take on each type of 'classic' crime in turn, from the locked-room mystery to the whodunnit," writes Fowler. "With such rich storylines to tap into, the problem is not one of finding cases for Bryant and May to investigate, but of choosing between them."

Read the entire article by Christopher Fowler on The Independent here.

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