Q: Who is Moss Reid?
A: My Moss Reid character is a private investigator in Dublin. He’s a one-person outfit, so expect lots of missing persons, missing cats, employee thefts, adoption traces, an adultery chase or two, and the dreaded Self Assessment Pay-and-File Income Tax Return Form 11E.
But it’s not all doom and gloom and starvation. There are digressions about the funny side of life (and the occasional death), and at least half a dozen recipes in each book, because Moss Reid’s philosophy in life is “Eat, drink and work – in that order.” He dines and cooks and (eventually) investigates his way through each book.
Q: Where is Cowtown?
A: It’s the Stoneybatter area in Dublin’s city centre on the north side of the river, a sort of rectangle that starts at the top of Prussia Street and ends at the River Liffey, with the Phoenix Park to the west and Phibsborough, Smithfield and Grangegorman to the east.
Stoneybatter used to be on a main route into the capital, and had loads of cattle markets and the City Abattoir. Hence the “cow” bit. Stoneybatter was also known as Oxmantown, but that’s another story.
Q: Why did you pick Stoneybatter?
A: Oxford has its Morse, Rebus has his Edinburgh, and Wallander has his – er – Wallanderland. I thought it high time Stoneybatter had its very own Moss Reid.
While Stoneybatter is close to the city centre, until recent stories of its “hipsterdom” it was also kind of tucked away and a less well known part of town (unless you lived in it of course).
People often describe Stoneybatter as an “urban village” and steeped in history. While it has a long-established working-class community, over the years it has also had its share of “blow-ins”: the Vikings, cattle dealers, thespians, artists, film crews, the Spice Girls and Rubberbandits, barristers, prisons, museums, dead patriots, students and – last but not least – a new wave of cafes, gastropubs and artisan food producers and brewers.
So if you’re going to write about a foodie detective you might as well plonk him in a gastronomic hotspot near the Drink Store.
Q: Why do all your books have yellow covers?
A: There are 10 reasons here.
Q: When are your books set?
A: Mainly in modern-day Dublin, though sometimes elsewhere in Ireland and occasionally abroad, with the occasional flashback.
Another Case in Cowtown is mostly set in the heatwave of summer 2013. It touches upon many events at the time, from that day’s stage of the Tour de France (Moss Reid is also a cycling nut) to the “love locks” on the Ha’penny Bridge.
Black Marigolds takes place in the run-up to Christmas 2013 (its original title was going to be “The Twelve Days of Cowtown” – see the very last page of the paperback edition).
Ghost Flight is set in 2008 and the summer of 2014. Not too many flashbacks in it though.
The fourth, forthcoming book in the series, The Rebel Type, is set mainly in December 2015 and spring 2016. Continue…