Thursday, 7 May 2020

An Interview with Duncan Richardson

In the lead-up to the launch of The Black Beacon Book of Mystery in June, we’ve asked our contributors to answer a few questions so you can get to know them better. Let’s unravel the mystery behind the stories together.

First question, inevitable perhaps considering the are you coping?

One of the few benefits of the pandemic is the way it reveals how people really respond to big events like this, and it’s not the way most TV shows, films, or some books depict it; ie. we don’t walk/sit around making set piece speeches like, “Do you think there will be a war / bushfire / drought / pandemic?” It’s much more diffuse most of the time, with patches of frenzy. So I’m coping by trying to find some hidden benefits.

Is there a story behind your contribution to The Black Beacon Book of Mystery?

The story behind my story is a big old house in South Wales where I lived for about 6 months as a child. It had long corridors, a wide curving stairway and a glass case in the hallway which contained a carving of an emaciated body. The carving freaked my mother out as it reminded her of the Nazi concentration camps. She wouldn’t rest until it was gone. Recalling that, it seemed that it could be part of a campaign to scare someone.

What are the key ingredients for a ripping mystery story? 

A flawed main character, a believable setting in time and place, and a villain who has good reasons for their actions so you feel some sympathy for them too.

Do you have a favourite fictional sleuth?

Robert Gott’s thespian sleuth, Will Power, because he’s hopeless and arrogant with a stunning knack of offending people. Also Poirot as depicted by John Malkovich.

Tell us about a real mystery you have solved or would like to?

A real mystery that would be great to solve is death of Alexander the Great. Was it disease, or was he poisoned? The princes in the Tower would be a good one too.

What are you writing now?

I’m now writing about a mystery man who turned up in a Queensland regional town around 1900 and attracted the attention of the police, which resulted in him being taken into custody and admitted to a mental hospital because in the words of the official report, “He couldn’t give a good account of himself.”

Where can we follow or contact you online?

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