The hero of my novel “Fatal Forgery” is Constable Samuel Plank. He works as a police officer attached to the magistrates’ court in Great Marlborough Street in London, which in 1824 (when the book is set) meant that his main duty was executing warrants issued by the magistrates. Of course, Sam is much more imaginative than most police officers, and soon starts doing his own “investigations” – a very new concept for a police officer. As well as being imaginative, Plank is loyal, hard-working, humorous, empathetic and compassionate. As I admitted earlier this week, I am now writing his next adventure, and my husband has just said something rather worrying. “Is Sam too good?” he wondered.
Now, it may just be marital jealousy – after all, over the past four years, I have spent an awful lot of time with Sam, and my husband is well aware of my innate fondness for policemen. But does he have a point? If Sam is too nice, does he risk becoming unbelievable? Poirot is fussy and snobbish as well as brilliant, while Morse is brusque and intolerant as well as utterly honest. So maybe I should start thinking of a flaw or two. Fear of the dark? Terror of spiders? Greed? I can’t have him chasing the girls as we already know that he’s devoted to his wife, and so far I haven’t shown him propping up the local bar or slumped in an opium den, so general addictions would not ring true either. Any suggestions for an interesting yet ultimately forgiveable flaw?