Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blog Tour!!: Lamb to the Slaughter: A Marjory Fleming Thriller by Aline Templeton

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Title: Lamb to the Slaughter: A Marjory Fleming Thriller 
  Author: Aline Templeton 
  Genre: Fiction/Crime Publication 
  Date: March 18, 2014 
  Publisher: Witness Impulse, and imprint of HarperCollins
Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.


A sunny evening, a tranquil garden - and an old man brutally gunned down on his doorstep. In a pretty and tranquil town, a proposed superstore development has divided the population in an increasingly bitter war. The low-level aggression of bored youth that is generally tolerated has become sinister. The bloodied carcass of a sheep abandoned in the streets is more than just unpleasant vandalism and teenage bikers, terrorizing a woman to breaking point, are impossible to control.
When a second victim is killed in what seems a random shooting, the fear in the town becomes tangible. Detective Fleming will not accept that the crimes are motiveless, but she struggles to make sense of the two murders, when nothing makes sense any more and no one will believe anything. Not even the truth.

Purchase Links: Amazon | HarperCollins

About the Author Aline Templeton grew up in the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. She has worked in education and broadcasting and was a Justice of the Peace for ten years. Married, with two grown-up children and three grandchildren, she now lives in a house with a view of Edinburgh Castle. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, choral singing, and traveling the back roads of France.
Connect with the Author: Blog | Goodreads

   ~What inspired me to write the DI Marjory Fleming series~

I had written six stand-alone novels and my agent and my editor were both keen that I should think about a series. It seemed a big step to me at the time; when you have had the freedom to set your book wherever the plot demanded, I was afraid I would run out of ideas.
But a character took shape in my mind: a tall, athletic-looking woman with a strong personality. She had a name: Marjory Fleming – ‘Big Marge’ to her junior colleagues. She wasn’t going to be the usual fictional detective, socially dysfunctional, with a drink problem and a contempt for any form of authority. She was a working mother, with a normal home life – husband, kids, aging parents – just like the policewomen you meet in any police station.
I hadn’t decided where she would live when I went down to Wigtown, the Scottish Book Town, to do an event. Wigtown is in Galloway, once of the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of Scotland, by-passed by motorways and still a close community.
It was brutally stricken by the dreadful foot-and-mouth epidemic, where flocks of sheep and herds of cattle were wiped out in a mass slaughter to eliminate the disease, with even unaffected animals being killed if they were too close to an outbreak. It struck me at the time that in a small community the police officers would be having to tell their own farmer friends that they would use force if necessary to give the killing-squads access – and of course, if you were a police officer married to a farmer it would be that much worse. So Marjory Fleming became a farmer’s wife and I wrote Cold in the Earth.
One of the things I realized in talking to local people after the book was published was that the terrible effects of the virus didn’t stop when the killing did and the journalists lost interest. Farms and local businesses were lost; there was heartache and unemployment. It struck me that modern urban society pays very little attention to rural problems; the countryside is seen through the pages of glossy magazines where the images are all of gingham curtains blowing in a gentle breeze beside a shelf of lovingly-made preserves while rosy-cheeked children frolic under the apple blossom in the orchard below.
I decided that I would take as the background for the next few books the problems that affect rural communities. The Darkness and the Deep is set in a fishing village, like the one I grew up in, where European Union rules have meant that the fishing has gone and the unemployed young men, coming from the tough breed of fisherman accustomed to braving the North Sea, look for the excitement they crave in drink and drugs. The background to Lying Dead is a picturesque hamlet which has been taken over for second homes by well-off city dwellers so that the locals can no longer afford the house prices. In Lamb to the Slaughter a village is fighting the plan for a supermarket that will blight the local High Street. Dead in the Water highlights European immigrants and the difficulties of relationships with the community. In Cradle to Grave, tragic flooding happens because local planners have ignored the needs of the tiny community.
Murders happen because of people, not because of situations. None of these themes is actually the subject of the book, only the backdrop to it. Character is all-important to me but I want readers to feel that place is a character too.
My fears about being confined to one area for my plots were unfounded. When I start thinking about a new book I go to Galloway and spend a few days looking around. The tiny islands off the Solway coast – there’s a story. The beautiful chapel in the ruined abbey - there’s another. The lighthouse with a drop to the rocks below, the bank of fallen trees with roots twisted like a know of snakes where a body could lie, the forest, creaking with menace in a storm…There’s no lack of inspiration.
When I start a new book, it always seems it’s all still there while I have been away; I feel I need to ask, like any returning traveler, ‘Well, what’s been going on?’. Marjory’s kids have grown up with the series, presenting the challenges every family faces with growing children and her officers, too, are part of the on-going story.
And the real joy of a series is that readers live it too. I have emails wanting to know ahead of publication whether, for instance, Tam MacNee will recover or Laura will return from London. I don’t tell them, of course, but it’s so rewarding that they care


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