Inspector Monde solves supernatural mysteries. He’s French and fought in WWII with the French Resistance. He has an affinity for the dead and the supernatural that comes from that time.
The stories are set in 1960/61 in Paris. I wanted the setting to be remote and yet almost familiar. A place where it takes time to find things out and the pace of life is a little slower than our own.
The ghosts of Monde’s Paris are like nothing you’ve seen before. They can be indistinguishable from living people when they manifest and are driven by strong emotions, most often revenge.
Yet the people of Paris pretend they don’t exist. Anomalies are ignored and incidents glossed over. It is simpler not to believe than to believe and this is an age of rationality. And incidents of hauntings are rare.
The people in positions of power know all about them and the police know because they must deal with the consequences. Their answer to the problem comes in the form of Charles Monde. An inspector of police in his forties who is regarded as a bit strange himself. Give the weird cases to him and then look the other way when he solves them. Never ask questions about his methods.
I’ve just finished writing my longest Inspector Monde story. It came in at 10,000 words. I don’t know if I’m ever going to write another. I never do. It will be in the collection Pfoxmoor will publish later this year.
Monde is my Sherlock Holmes and I don’t want to let him down with a poor story. Each story must have a powerful and often shocking plot with an ending you didn’t really expect. The last three Monde’s have been born in my nightmares and then crafted into a coherent story. Death is his subject, the dead and the damned his clients or his enemies.
The stories Love Springs & Prelude are available free from Amazon at the moment. The other stories cost a little, but not a lot. An enormous amount of care went into their preparation. I hope you give them a try.
I've been a bit dismayed by some of the things I've read about how to write a book on writing sites. It seems to me that so many of them miss the point. It's all, don't do this, don't do that. In rule-writer's books processes are disconnected where in my view it all has to fit together.
By profession I analyse things. So here is my own list of the things I think matter. They overlap and compliment each other and shouldn't ever be regarded in isolation of the others.
Story – what is going to happen during the book?
Narrative – how the story will be told, from what POV's, what temporal lines, what flashbacks?
Pace – what will be the high points and the low points in the story? Where will the reader draw a breath? What is the pattern of action?
Identification – what keeps the reader reading? For example, likeable characters, puzzles, mysteries, drama, good lines, etc
Satisfaction – how do you make the reader feel good about what they've read? Examples are jokes and humour in general, cheering on the hero, making the villain look stupid, excitement, tension, fear, shock and so on
Voice – this is your writing style – reading age- length of sentences- jokey, gothic, serious, vanilla, etc. Note that rhythm is part of this- does your voice flow?
When all these things are mixed together with the right quantities and qualities you have a good novel. It's more like cookery than anything else. Nothing is proscribed provided you can get the mix right.