Thank you for your interview, Fiona Griffiths. Can you tell us your story?
There may be a misunderstanding here: I don’t know who you are and I’m highly reluctant to tell you my story. I don’t reveal much to anyone and certainly not to you.
If you want to know the basic data, that’s a different matter. I’m Fiona Griffiths. I am a Detective Constable in the South Wales force, specializing in Major Crime. I have an excellent arrest record, but my superiors find me hard to work with and I have once been cautioned for an excessive use of violence. (Though, I would note, I am 5’ 2”, slim-built, and my ‘victim’ was an adult man in his prime. I made these points to the committee of enquiry and no complaint was sustained against me.)
Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?
Yes, of course I can. But that doesn’t mean I will. I’m a private person and if that privacy tips over into hostility . . . well, live with it.
However, I do note – it’s on my HR records and therefore unfortunately less secret than I’d like – that I once suffered from a condition known as Cotard’s Syndrome. A short trip to Wikipedia will tell you that those who suffer from Cotards ‘believe themselves to be dead’. So: you want a distinguishing feature, there it is. When I was sixteen, seventeen, I went around thinking I was dead. I’m in recovery now, but I still feel the ghost of that past around me.
Now please change the subject.
What is in your refrigerator right now?
That’s a strange question. I have some milk which may have curdled. I have a can of tuna. I have four carrots which are old and slightly bendy. I have a packet of tomatoes which looks mostly OK. I have a packet of bacon which is going a bit purple and oily. I have a pot of yogurt, which is mostly empty, unless you count that strange, spidery, long-haired mold, in which case the pot is mostly full. I’d be interested in your motivations for asking the question.
What would I love the most about you?
I don’t know. I don’t really know why anyone likes me. I have a good sense of humor and I’m an excellent investigator. I’m also fiercely loyal to my friends. I am very intelligent. Most of these things, however, don’t seem like a good reason to like someone.
What would I hate the most about you?
I’m aware I’m not very easy to work with. My boss – Detective Chief Inspector Dennis Jackson – quite likes me, but he still tears my head off from time to time. I am unpunctual. I swear when I shouldn’t. I disobey orders. I break the law. I frequently lie. I drive too fast. I am a terrible cook. I have a tendency to get obsessive, especially while working on a murder case. I don’t clean my house very often. I sometimes lose touch with who I am or what I’m doing.
But what would you personally hate the most about me? I don’t know. Take your pick.
Where do you go when you are angry?
I smoke a joint or fire imaginary bullets at the heads of my real enemies.
What is your most treasured possession?
Uh – maybe my gun. Because this is the UK where private handguns are pretty much banned, my gun isn’t strictly legal . . . but then again, I also treasure the marijuana plants growing in my garden shed, so it would seem I sometimes treasure illegal things. I don’t claim to be a good person.
Who is your best friend?
My best friends are: Dave ‘Buzz’ Brydon, a Detective Sergeant in the same force as me. He and I are in a very committed relationship that may yet develop further. But I also need to mention Ed Saunders, who once took care of me when I was a teenage nutcase. He’s a good guy, Ed. Also, Lev. He’s a Russian guy. Taught me unarmed combat. Smokes a lot of dope. Drinks his tea hot, black and with jam. Oh yes, and used to be a combat trainer for the Russian Spetsnaz. He’s a screw-up, like me.
If you could change one physical thing about yourself, what would that be?
I have almost no interest in my physical appearance. I look fine, and that’s enough for me. It does annoy me, however, that I am at a stupid disadvantage when it comes to physical confrontation with men, particularly the kind of men that I tend to be pursuing as part of my job as a Major Crimes investigator. Fortunately, my petite build has not so far stopped me from emerging successful from those confrontations.
What is your greatest fear?
I have already told you that I suffered from Cotards Syndrome as a teenager. You remember: Cotards, where people think they’re dead.
I’ve told you that and you are seriously asking me what I’m most afraid of?
It’s obviously, surely, or should be. I am terrified of going back to that place. I want to find out what made me like this. If I can put it right, I will. If I can put a LOT of bad guys behind bars on the way to that discovery, I will. But in the meantime, do I get scared? Do I get genuinely terrified?
Yes, of course. All the time.
Author: Harry Bingham
British author, Harry Bingham, blew critics and readers away with his crime debut, Talking to the Dead. His second novel, Love Story, with Murders, established DC Fiona Griffiths as the most compelling heroine in crime fiction. With this, the third novel in the series, comes Fiona's darkest, strangest and most challenging assignment yet . . .
It started out as nothing much. A minor payroll fraud at a furniture store in South Wales. No homicide involved, no corpses. Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths fights to get free of the case, but loses. She's tasked with the investigation. She begins her enquiries, only to discover the corpse of a woman who's starved to death. Looks further, and soon realizes that within the first, smaller crime, a vaster one looms: the most audacious theft in history. Fiona’s bosses need a copper willing to go undercover, and they ask Fiona to play the role of a timid payroll clerk so that she can penetrate the criminal gang from within. Fiona will be alone, she’ll be lethally vulnerable – and her fragile grip on ‘Planet Normal’ will be tested as never before ...