by Margaret Chrystall
THE natural storyteller’s art kicks in when bestselling crime writer Peter May describesto you th emoment he first shared the idea for his latest book with his publishers.
He sets the scene, the atmosphere tense for Peter as he pitched the story to his editor, who ate his breakfast as he silently listened to the story.
Peter even gives you the husky voice and North of England accent of the delighted editor whose verdict – .
“That’s brilliant!” – must be the words every author wants to hear.
Now the book – I’ll Keep You Safe – is out this week, taking readers from the massive hall of the world’s biggest international fabric fair in Paris to a dramatically isolated home in the Hebrides.
It’s Peter’s 24th novel and to date his books have been read by two million in the UK, around the same number abroad – with the Lewis Trilogy alone having sold more than a million copies in the UK.
The Hebrides have been good to him – and it was on holiday there that the seeds of I’ll Keep You Safe germinated.
The story of tweed and its global cachet, the past of a group of island youngsters, the dramatic landscape of the Hebrides contrasting with the sophisticated, intensely creative world of fashion in London and Paris – all come together.
The plot delivers suspense, surprises and – from the pen of a master writer – a stunning twist to leave you breathless.
Peter said: “From The Land Comes The Cloth featured photographer Ian Lawson’s work, photographs of the landscape and different weaves of Harris tweed put side by side to show how the colours of the tweed drew their inspiration from the landscape.”
Living in France and Spain, Peter admits that he is a “Brexit-hater” and sadly believes Britain is “heading for disaster”.
He said: “Things that happen quite easily, co-operation between police forces, European arrest warrants, the ease with which it’s possible to exchange personnel will all become bogged down in bureaucracy because there won’t be a defined and smooth passage for these things in future.”
These changes may well appear in future titles.
But Peter’s Enzo Macleod series – featuring the French-based but Scottish former forensic scientist turned cold case investigator – is now in the past.
With last summer’s publication ofthe last of the books, Cast Iron, Peter admits: “When you finish a series, you know you are saying goodbye to your character and it is a bit like someone has died in fact. Grieving is the right kind of work to describe it – there is a sense of that
“And the temptation is, of course, to go back to the familiar comfortable characters that you have been writing for years and know well.”
He said: “I like the challenge of going onto something new and something fresh.
“That’s why we’ve got I’ll Keep You Safe!”
Peter May will be chatting to STV’s Emma Murray about the book on Monday, January 15 at Eden Court in association with Waterstones. It starts at 6.30pm and tickets are £5 from Waterstones and Eden Court: www.eden-court.co.uk