Trains, boats, planes… cars, buses, camper vans…

It didn’t occur to me until I was editing ‘Death at the Happiness Club’ but there is an awful lot of transport in it. People frequently hop on buses and go to the next town, or see a Porsche zipping past, or get on and off planes and boats. One of the most exciting scenes in the book (in my humble opinion) takes place on a boat trip from North Queensferry to Inchcolm, an island in the Firth of Forth where there’s rather a romantic old abbey. My son once took part in a video there with some other members of his orchestra. I don’t know if they actually played any instruments on that occasion or only mimed, but if they did play then the sound was probably carried away on the wind immediately.

Another pivotal scene takes place in a camper van, which is not at all romantic or old. it’s a useful thing to have in a book, though – it doesn’t have to stay in one place as a house would, but can either be a means of transport or a home.  It’s used as both in this story.

One of the main characters in the series, Amaryllis, makes her entrance in this novel by plane, flying in from Newark and hoping not to be arrested on the way through customs (don’t ask). Another, Christopher, acts on impulse, which is quite uncharacteristic, when he catches a boat to go somewhere different. And right at the end of the novel a steam train arrives in Pitkirtly with some unexpected passengers – unexpected, that is, to Christopher, who hasn’t been paying attention.

I hope all this movement will carry the novel along at a fast pace. Certainly that was the case when I wrote the first draft. In fact I wrote so fast I almost forgot to put in the murder.

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