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So here I am, halfway through my month-long retreat in the company of another man.  Did I ever tell you how I named my police constable?  To begin with, when I first started writing “Fatal Forgery” (which itself started life as “A Fraudster and a Gentleman”), he was called George Rayner.  I know: not good.  But in the 1780s, when he was born, people chose their children’s names from quite a limited selection – none of your Duwaynes and Will.i.ams back then.  And then one day I was reading through the records of the Old Bailey (utterly fascinating, and now all online – just a fabulous resource) when I came across a trial where one of the witnesses was a police constable called Sam Plank.  “That’s him!” I cried – my husband remembers me doing it.  And I just knew that Constable Samuel Plank was the man for me.

We’ve been through a lot together already, and now – hiding away together in Switzerland – we are getting to know each other even better.  He’s told me about his childhood, and today he revealed to me what made him become a police officer in the first place.  I won’t spoil the surprise for you, just in case you decide to read his next adventure, but it was very moving, and certainly explains a great deal about how he became the man he is.  And just to confirm your no doubt nagging suspicions that I have gone completely batty stuck up here alone at the top of a mountain, I genuinely had no idea about this anecdote until I sat down and wrote it: I didn’t plan it, and it just appeared.  He’s good company, Sam Plank.

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