Title: Fatal Music
Author: Peter Morfoot
Publisher: Titan Books
I am really excited to be part of the blog tour for Fatal Music, the second novel in the Captain Darac series. Today on SnazzyBooks, author (and Yorkshireman) Peter Morfoot reveals why he decided to set the series in the South of France…
But first, here’s a quick synopsis of the book:
Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle arrives at a crime scene to find a woman’s mutilated corpse. Initially routine, the case deepens and darkens into a complex enquiry that threatens to close in on Darac himself. But allegiances past and present must be set aside to unravel a tale of greed, deception and treachery that spans the social spectrum. It is among the winding streets of his own neighbourhood in Nice’s old town, the Babazouk, that Darac faces his severest test yet.
Peter Morfoot: “Why the South of France?”
Following Impure Blood (April 2016), Fatal Music is the second novel published by Titan Books in my series featuring Captain Paul Darac of Nice’s Serious Crimes Squad, the Brigade Criminelle. A lover of most genres of crime fiction, including the Nordic-Noir story worlds created by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson and Titan’s own Chris Ould, my own inclination was to head south. Why?
As for so many others, my first encounter with the French Riviera was a summer holiday – our first foray abroad as a family. I remember the flight over as if it were yesterday. We took off into a thick blanket of cloud over Gatwick and it wasn’t until we were coming into land that it finally cleared. Of course, being greyed out for two hours served only to heighten the power of the reveal as we touched down. There was a world beyond that porthole, after all. And as if by magic, it was now in glorious Technicolor. We couldn’t wait to experience it first hand.
When it came, that initial taste of abroad didn’t disappoint. As we filed down the open steps on to the tarmac, we were quite simply overwhelmed by the heat, the scents and above all, by the intensity of the southern light, the inspiration of generations of artists as diverse as Scott Fitgerald, Monet, and Henri Matisse. The South of France? It was pretty much love at first sight. As in all love affairs, we’ve gone on to have our ups and downs but all these years years later, it’s a love that’s still strong.
But when I set about devising what eventually became the Darac series, the Riviera was not my first choice as setting. Yes, I was a practising, if not uncritical Francophile, and over the years I’d got to know Nice well, certainly well enough for it to function as a character in its own right in the stories, places closer to home were ahead of it on points. My native West Yorkshire for one.
Although I was attracted to the idea of setting a crime series abroad, the prospect of researching into legal, penal and policing systems that are very different from those in the U.K. was a daunting one.
Nevertheless, I added Nice to the shortlist of possible settings. To ensure I made a rational final decision, I resolved to turn a blind eye to the Côte d’Azur’s more obvious charms. It would have been too easy, I thought, to have been seduced by such things as the region’s 300 days of sunshine a year; by the beauty of the mountains and that eponymous azure coastline. And then there’s the quality of the food and the wine. And did I mention the wine? Yes, it would have been all too easy to have been seduced by those things. And of course, I was.
But as a crime writer, I needed more than light and beauty. I needed darkness and despair. Were there serpents slithering around in this urban paradise? Oh yes, long before the appalling events of Bastille Day 2016, they were there, alright. And so Nice, as exotically beautiful as any Mediterranean resort but with its fair share of big city problems and crime, began to stake more and more of a claim.
In the end, it was thinking further about my detective-to- be that decided the issue of the setting for me. But how I came up with my central character, the jazz-playing homicide detective Paul Darac, will have to wait until next time.
Intrigued? Buy Fatal Music on Amazon or take a look at the book on Goodreads. Follow Peter on Twitter here.
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