Myra Duffy crime writer is the author of a formidable list of titles. I asked her a few questions about the influence setting has on her work.
Thanks for joining us today, Myra.
Where is Last Ferry to Bute set?
As with all my mystery novels this one is set on Bute, a small island just off the West coast of Scotland.
I assume, as it’s close to the mainland, you’ve been there?
We’ve had family connections with the island for many years and spend a lot of time there. The Isle of Bute has been a favourite holiday destination for generations.
I must say that Bute isn’t the hotbed of crime my novels suggest. In fact there is very little crime and it is a beautiful place with lots of unspoiled beaches and excellent walking, including the West Island Way. A lot of money is being spent on upgrading facilities, including the Art Deco building which features in Last Dance at the Rothesay Pavilion.
What aspects of the place most excited your writer’s mind?
The island is an ideal place to set a crime novel. It has a population of no more than 6000 people, except in the summer months when the holiday makers descend. This provides the benefit of a location that has strong associations for many people, not only in Scotland but for those of Scottish descent throughout the world. In a small place like Bute there are lots of opportunities for local gossip and intrigue to move the plot along.
Does the place act as an unnamed character in your book?
Very much so. You won’t travel far before meeting someone who remembers going there on holiday as a child or whose granny or other relative lived there! And a number of readers have told me that after reading the novels they’ve been inspired to visit the island.
I use different areas of the island in each novel. The latest one – Endgame at Port Bannatyne (out at the end of September) – is set in one of the villages on the eastern side of Bute.