Originally posted on Christopher D. Abbott:
I’m an enthusiastic reader of crime fiction, but not just crime. Science-fiction, fantasy and a lot of period drama. I have also, on occasions, dipped into the works of historic non-fiction. However, my passion has always been a good murder mystery! I have copies of all the Sherlock Holmes cases, and nearly all the Agatha Christie’s Poirot (short stories and complete novels). I have tinkered with various ideas for a crime story of my own, and when I sat down and set about the task of having someone murdered (in print!) the story of Sir Laurence Gregson was born.
Now, before I could murder him, I had to understand him. This then led me to develop the character of Doctor Straay. I choose a Dutchman purely and simply because I had been to Holland many times, I have friends there, and I love the Dutch, so it was natural that I should gravitate in that direction.
The idea of having both a police detective and a “consulting” detective who were both clever in their own way appealed to me very much. Practically all stories I read in this genre have either one or the other. If it’s a story about a police detective, let’s choose Inspector “Jack” Frost for this example, then he is the one who solves the crimes. If it’s Poirot, or Sherlock Holmes, or Miss Marple, then 9 times out of 10, the official police are depicted as well, incompetent to be mild. Even in early Poirot stories, Chief Inspector James Japp is considered a little dim (how did Japp get promoted beyond Sergeant?) and the less said about Inspector Lestrade the better. I didn’t want to fall into the same trap. I also didn’t want some idiot sidekick either.