Friday, 22 July 2011
Household Weapon of Mass Destruction?- by Jo Cotterill
OK, so a series called ‘Sweet Hearts’ might not sound as though it has much to do with crime!
However, in Book 3: Forget Me Not the heroine (Kate) works at a garden centre over the summer (where she meets and falls for a Mysterious Boy…) and one night there’s an attack on the centre and most of the plant stock is destroyed.
I was inspired, I confess, by a scene in a Midsomer Murders episode, where someone’s prize orchid collection is destroyed by a rival orchid-grower (or was it his resentful wife? I can’t remember).
How very visual! How awful, to have rows and rows of brown, shrivelled plants where only the day before they had been green and healthy.
But how could it be done?
At first I thought of acid. But how does one actually get hold of acid, I wondered? Not as easily as you might think (which is just as well).
So what else could you spray onto plants that would kill them? Something householdy – bleach? But that seemed a bit dull, and besides, you’d need tons of the stuff to kill shelves and shelves of plants. Caustic soda, suggested my dad. It’s easily available and eats through just about anything (eek, scary thought).
So that’s what my villain uses – an ordinary household item that’s usually used for unblocking drains – as a weapon of mass plant destruction. Kate, my heroine, comes into work to find a wasteland of dead and dying plants, including her very own flower display. All very upsetting, and also providing the perfect plot device for discovery of Evidence later on!
(and some time I might tell you about how I wrote the police scenes, with the help of a good friend who just happens to be a police inspector. Aren’t friends useful!)
To find out more about Jo Cotterill and the Sweetheart series go to www.ilovesweethearts.co.uk
Jo also blogs at girlsheartbooks.com along with thirty other writers of girly fiction.