Whenever I meet readers of the Esme Quentin mysteries, they often talk about Esme’s character – why she does what she does, what drives her and how she goes about uncovering the truth in the stories.
I decided to ask my Newsletter subscribers whether there were any questions they’d like to ask Esme directly and, if so, to send me their suggestions, which many of them did.
The following scene is Esme’s response to some of those questions, as she and her friend Maddy Henderson, sit on a bench at Warren Quay (on the north Devon coast, the setting for the second and third books in the series) discussing the questions which have been put to her.
So if you’d like to know her thoughts about the scar on her cheek, how the death of her husband Tim changed her and whether she’s prepared to speculate about her future… then read on!
‘So tell me again,’ Maddy said, peering at the piece of paper Esme had handed her. ‘What’s this for?’
They were sitting on the bench on the grass promontory overlooking the harbour at Warren Quay. A swell was building in the bay and spray from the waves breaking against the rocks blew in on the wind, filling the air with the smell of salt. It was the first proper sunny day they’d seen all winter. The draw to sit and breathe in the clear air under a pristine blue sky after so many days of relentless rain was compelling, despite the chill of the onshore breeze.
‘She caught me on the hop,’ Esme said, pulling her coat around her and tucking a strand of hair back into its fastening, which the wind immediately tugged out again.
‘Her.’ Esme cocked a nod at the paper. ‘Melissa Something or other. From Devon Today magazine. She writes a regular column.’
‘Oh, I get it. She’s interviewing you.’
‘Apparently. Her readers would lap it up, she assures me.’
‘Well, that’s good, isn’t it? Great for business. Genealogist extraordinaire. They’ll be fighting a path to your door.’
Esme rolled her eyes before throwing Maddy a withering look.
‘What?’ said Maddy with a shrug. ‘You don’t reckon?’
‘It’s not that,’ Esme said, pulling a face. ‘It’s the things she wants to know that bothers me. Some of her questions are a bit… you know… close to the bone.’