The White Crane

So, as I take Hawk on into his sixth adventure, White Crane, I’m wondering if he’s beginning to suffer from Midsomer Murderssyndrome. Too many murders for the small area and brief time in which they occur. When I first started writing them, way back in the last century, we never considered it: we never thought the series would last for 20 years, never mind be seen by one billion people. To date there have been over 300 murders in the village of Causton and people never tire of telling me that it must be the most dangerous village in England. They say it as a joke and I always laugh as if I’ve never heard it before.

In my defence, Hawk’s murders don’t all occur close to home. In White Crane, for example, the victim lives in Muswell Hill, which is pretty low on violent crime. And yet again it’s a case which Hawk’s drawn into against his will. I’ve even managed to squeeze in a hobby/obsession of mine: bonsai. I spend most winters flapping over my collection which moves all too regularly between patio and greenhouse depending on the weather. This winter’s been stressful in another way! My daughter-in-law bought a box tree (buxus sempervirens for the initiated) and asked me to look after it for the winter. Because it came looking like a football on a stick I shaped it into a bonsai, pruned it and wired it. For two months I worried daily that I’d killed it. Now, after several days of sunshine, it’s started to flower, which it shouldn’t have done. So will it make it? Watch this space…


Douglas Watkinson is an English novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

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