Friday, November 13, 2009
Shane's Question for Vicki Delany
“Do your local police forces carry guns like their U.S. counterparts, or are they more like England, where Bobbies aren't armed? Thanks!"
In the typical Canadian way, we are in the middle. Unlike police in the U.K., all Canadian police officers are armed with handguns. Unlike police in the U.S., Canadian police are forbidden from carrying their guns when they are out of uniform or off duty (with rare exceptions). Even plain-clothes officers must leave their weapon at the office, or take it off and lock it in a gun-safe as soon as they get home.
My brother is in the military and is the officer in charge of his mess. He once refused a police officer admittance to the bar of the mess (as a guest) because he was armed. A policewoman I know always changes in and out of her uniform at the station because she does not want the weapon in her house where she has kids. This ties in with the general Canadian attitude towards guns – owning a handgun is (except for extremely rare cases) absolutely illegal.
At the climax to In the Shadow of the Glacier, the first Molly Smith book, she is not working, and thus unarmed, when she has the final confrontation with the bad guy. All she has to defend herself with are her cell phone and her stiletto heels. And her considerable wits, of course.
To be absolutely honest – I think it adds a lot more scope for psychology and intelligence when your protagonist can’t just pull out a gun and shoot someone. Perhaps this ties in to my comments to Sophie’s question above about why Americans are writing British police procedurals.
Vicki Delany’s newest novel, Winter of Secrets, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which said, “she uses…artistry as sturdy and restrained as a Shaker chair.” Vicki writes everything from standalone novels of suspense (Burden of Memory) to the Constable Molly Smith series, a traditional village/police procedural series set in the B.C. Interior (In the Shadow of the Glacier, Winter of Secrets), to a light-hearted historical series (Gold Digger) set in the raucous heyday of the Klondike Gold Rush. Vicki lives in rural Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch. Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com. She blogs with five other mystery writers at http://typem4murder.blogspot.com and about the writing life, as she lives it, at http://klondikeandtrafalgar.blogspot.com