I learnt a bit about reality recently
As I mentioned recently, I encountered the reality of detective work, when I was talking to a former detective, who now writes crime fiction. I noted that his knowledge of police procedures and culture was an advantage. He recognised that my background in risk management was also relevant to my writing. I have spent a lot of my career investigating insurance claims, auditing accounts and looking for the real causes of accidents or losses. That is similar to my fictional hero Frank Hill in Accounting for Murder, Double Entry.
What part of reality am I missing?
However, we agreed that I would not have made a good detective in reality. To be a detective in the police, you have to begin as a police officer in uniform, carrying out all sorts of duties. You would have to break up fights, drag bodies out of canals, search premises, search woodlands and chase cars. You would have to advise members of the public on all sorts of matters. It helps if you have limitless patience for tiresome people and the ability to defuse potentially explosive situations. Doc Martin would not hack it, and neither would I.
Is that the reality for detectives too?
If you could survive an initial period as a copper on the beat, would you then enjoy being a detective? Unfortunately, detectives also find themselves having to do a lot of the things I mentioned. Sometimes they are helping their uniformed colleagues, but, even in the course of actual detective work, life can get messy.
How about a reality check?
If you think you are good at solving real or fictional crimes, and enjoy puzzles, don’t be too quick to jump to the conclusion you’d make a good detective in reality. Think about all the other aspects of the occupation. I’ll stick to reading and writing about it.
Don’t give up the day job!