Tis the season to be jolly, and what could make you jollier than a happy ending? Well, I write happy endings.
‘But you are a crime writer!’ I hear you say. ‘You trade in murder and gore!’
Yes, I do, but have you noticed, my dear friend, that all my books end well? The crime is solved, the criminal apprehended and the good citizen can sleep in peace again. Until the next time.
I admit, there may be a touch of nastiness, a puddle of blood or an intimation of violence along the way but, as they saying goes: all is well that ends well.
My (unlikely and difficult to like) heroine, DI Marsh, may have some unconventional methods, no people skills and a razor-sharp tongue, but she gets the culprit in the end and take him (or her) prisoner. The balance of justice is restored and we can all retire for some well-deserved digestifs.
As any detective, Marsh has to have a slightly corrupt mind so that she can get her head around the criminal’s motive and method. And so do I, as a writer. When, some three decades ago, my mother tried to explain to me why I should read law at uni, she said that I had a fair mind and an acute sense of what’s right and wrong – I’d make a good judge. Instead, I became a lawyer acting in cases where fairness didn’t feature in the equation, and now I write crime. I understand the killer and his reasons, but I don’t absolve him/her of their crime. I bring them to justice. A very happy ending indeed.
Truth be told, I could never bring myself to write an ending that offers no hope at all, not even the narrowest way out or the feeblest Plan B. I am an optimist. It is a quality that lets me defeat occasional bouts of depression and always find something to look forward to. Another name for an optimist would be a day-dreamer or a fool. I am all of the above, but call me what you will, in my world evil never triumphs. I couldn’t even let it win in my dystopian novel, The End of the Road. It starts with a nightmare but ends with a glimmer of hope shining through the dark.
So, all is well that ends well. This year has been a bit of a nightmare, but it has come to an end, and we all deserve a happy ending. Have a merry Christmas filled with hope, love, good wine and a spirit-lifting carol. I would sing one for you in my unique tone-deaf way, but that would be a very bad ending, and I don’t do those.
Happy Christmas season! I will have a gift for you soon so watch out for Santa.