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Apologies for the silence recently: work has been rather all-consuming, and “Plank 3” has been rather pushed to one side.  This weekend I did not manage my planned 2,000 words – I wrote only a quarter of that.  But I will have a whole week home alone next week – husband off skiing – so hopefully I will be able to make up some of that shortfall.

Trying to jolly myself up, I re-read all the reviews and comments that people have written about “Fatal Forgery” and “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, and one thing nearly everyone mentions is how happy they are to see Martha (Sam’s wife) taking a more prominent role in the books.  I never really planned this: I wanted Sam to be happily married specifically so that he wouldn’t be one of those brilliant policemen with a troubled home life (see Morse, Holmes and about a thousand others) – and I needed a “regular woman” in the stories to balance out the very male police and justice environment.  But I didn’t want – and I still don’t want – them to become “Sam ‘n’ Mar”, the crime-busting duo.  Martha’s role is as a sounding board for Sam, and the voice of common-sense and the feminine.  She is not a Regency Miss Marple, solving mysteries over the teapot.

Talking of Sam’s home life, someone did tell me, as I was writing “Canary”, that they thought there needed to be more sex in Sam’s life.  Despite the fact that I now know Sam quite well, I have no idea how often he and Martha celebrate their marital union.  They are affectionate and devoted, so I assume all is well in the bedroom department.  But he does not mention it, and I am firmly of the view that he should not.  It is mistaken to think that a man of Sam’s class and level of education, living in London in the 1820s, would have discussed such matters with anyone – even Martha.  And so, when it comes to matters carnal, I do close the bedroom door – not because I am being coy, but because to do anything else would be entirely out of keeping with the man who is telling the story: Sam himself.