Have I ever killed off a character I care about? Let me see. In publication date order in the DANDY GILVER books: one, two, mmmm - yes three, oh god four, a strong yes on five, six and a bonus seven, eight, but actually the corpse in book nine doesn't bother me that much.
I've been thinking a lot about cozies lately for an article I'm writing and apparently in cozies the victim is supposed to be someone who's got it coming. (A point of view of justice that doesn't seem all that cosy to me, I must say.)
So I'm one-ninth of a cozy writer. But that's all about to change. Because an unbreakable rule of cozies, I learn, is that you can't harm children or animals. Fictional ones, I mean.
And that leads me on to my clearest piece of writing advice. (Imagine me gripping your arm with my claw-like hand and whispering this urgently into your ear. At a wedding, say.) If your series is going to progress in real time, a book a year, do not give your sleuth a dog.
Bunty the Dalmatian was six in 1922 in AFTER THE ARMISITCE BALL.
but it's 1931 in the book I'm writing now and it's time for some tough decisions. In the last one, THE REEK OF RED HERRING (not out yet), she had a step stool to climb up and sleep on Dandy's bed and during the case she stayed inside whenever it was raining - in Aberdeenshire, in December; she was inside a lot.
The thing I can't settle is whether to let her die quietly between books and bring on a puppy in her place or - shark-jumpingly - to let her go out in a blaze of glory, saving Dandy's life. Any thoughts, dog lovers of the crime-reading world?