Interview with Liz Mistry – August 2017

Detectives in the Dock

  1. Eddie’s background.

Eddie Collins is a CSI working for West Yorkshire Police. He’s been through the mill since I first encountered him back in 2004. He had a son, Sam, who was tragically killed in a hit and run accident in Eddie’s first book, The Third Rule. In that same book, he also lost his wife, Jilly – she couldn’t accept Sam’s death and so took her own life.

In the next book, Black by Rose, Eddie reacquaints himself with someone with whom he was rather fond: a lady by the name of Ros Banford – also a CSI. The only problem with this relationship was that Ros was married. By the end of Black by Rose, that problem had vanished, and so in the next book, Sword of Damocles, they finally get together! Yay!

But the relationship plays havoc with the gears and chains inside Eddie’s mind, and they end up separating. Eddie is alone for a while until his father, Charles, moves in with him. Whenever I visit their house, I always think of Steptoe & Son – it’s a brilliant relationship.

  1. Most rebellious thing?

Eddie is not a shy person when it comes to expressing feelings of dismay. Couple this with a dislike of people in general, and you end up with sarcasm and mild violence towards people who get in his way. Since I’ve known him, Eddie has verbally abused countless people, and had fist fights with dozens – including high-ranking officers, supervision, and members of the press and public.

Among his most rebellious ‘antics’ was breaking into someone’s house to kill them (I know!), and finding them already dead. Tut. But, he has broken into a burglar’s house before and broken the guy’s legs. Bit too rebellious? Well, that’s Eddie. One of his most recent antics was using a chainsaw to cut the floor out of a chapel where he suspected someone had deposited a body. It was a listed building and he didn’t have permission. But, as Eddie said, evidence first, bullshit later.

  1. Three things Eddie would take to a desert island?

Eddie prefers his own company. So I think the three things he’d take to a desert island would be his entire Pink Floyd collection, a Starbucks, because he loves coffee, and a roll of razor wire to make sure any other people stranded there kept away.

The Nitty Gritty.

  1. What or who does your character hate the most?

It might seem to some people that Eddie hates people the most. He doesn’t; he dislikes them, but he doesn’t hate them. He does however hate being around them. Unless they’re dead, he doesn’t mind dead people because they tend not to talk a lot.

The thing he hates the most is authority for authority’s sake. Rules for rules’ sake. Bureaucracy is an unnecessary evil, and if it stands in the way of him working a scene or a case, he’ll do his best to sidestep it, and if that means breaking the law, he won’t lose sleep over it.

  1. What is their worst trait?

Although Eddie is a gruff and caustic man, he really does have a tender heart – provided you can get close enough to him to discover it. He would say that his worst trait is trying to provide justice for people. Because, when Eddie goes out to get them justice, he goes all-out, irrespective of who or what stands in his way, and he also doesn’t especially care what justice is afforded to the criminals: English Justice, or Eddie Justice, he doesn’t mind which.

  1. Is Eddie a romantic?

Actually, yes, he is. This might surprise a lot of people, but he gets lonely, despite longing to be alone. That tender heart I was talking about? Well, it’s very well protected behind a high wall, but when it crumbles and someone gets inside, he’s incredibly loyal and caring.

He yearns for love and has a lot of love to give. But, typical of a lot of men, he’s afraid to go out and find it because of what has happened in his past: it always ended in heartache. So being alone is the safer, more dependable option. Doesn’t stop him yearning though.

In five words, describe:

What Eddie’s friends think of him:

Arsehole with a golden heart.

Eddie’s physical appearance:

“I couldn’t give a shit.” (Sorry about that – Eddie’s words, not mine).

Eddie’s office:

“Extremely cluttered but immensely organised.” (Really? You expect people to believe that?).

Eddie’s favourite things:

Holiday destination?

Home. (I suspect it’s that desert island you mentioned above).

Song?

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd.

Language?

Foul (Kind of linked to ‘favourite weapon’: tongue).

Would Eddie rather…

Visit a post mortem or clean up a drunk’s sick?

Post mortem, no problem. He’d get the drunk to clean up his own sick – with his hair if need be.

Salute or shoot Dexter?

Salute, bow, and then courtesy.

Eat pizza or curry?

Pizza every single time. He doesn’t do hot or spicy food. His favourite food is an English breakfast, followed by sausage and mash.

 

Many thanks to Liz Listry for her kind permission to reproduce the interview here.

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Crime and thriller writing by a CSI