Although Death of a Deacon is a work of fiction and the characters are fictitious, I drew upon actual experiences, and the characters are composites of people I have known. For example, the carbon monoxide leak in the school, which plays a central role in the plot, is based upon an incident that actually happened in a school attended by my grandchildren. I did not have to draw upon much imagination to describe the incident and the emergency services response; I was there and I saw it unfold in much the same way.
In a similar way, you may think the characters on the parish council are incredible, but believe me, they’re not. They are composites of characters I have served with on parish councils. Life in a parish is messy.
“Death of a Deacon” and its sequel “Ulster Legacy,” are intended to fall into a sub-category of mystery novels called “cozies.” They combine mystery with romance. Well-known practitioners of the cozy are Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Carola Dunn, Karen Baugh Menuhin, Lee Strauss, and Beth Byers. I was also heavily influenced in my desire to write mysteries by G. K. Chesterton, who is one of the fathers of the modern mystery novel. I would not call his Father Brown books cozies, but they are masterpieces of the detective novel genre.
My daughter was a police officer for eighteen years. Our family was sort of a mini “Blue Bloods” and much of the police lore and procedure in the novel was gleaned from eighteen years of dinner table conversation in our house.
In the novel I deliberately did not name the city. In the sequel, “Ulster Legacy,” involving the same characters, I do. I hope you enjoy both.