Character Interview – Inspector Richard Watson
by Carrie Marsh
I am sitting in a room at the Hilltop restaurant – a timeless place overlooking the forested hills outside Rockport. The pine trees soar outside, coming close to this hilltop refuge. The view is breath-taking.
I am here in this tiny village in Massachusetts to interview Inspector Richard Watson, the hero of my latest novel.
I lean back and breathe in the scents of leather and spice, woven distantly with smoke. I am not surprised this is his chosen venue – it suits what I know of the man. I hear booted feet on the steps and look at the clock. It is precisely 17:00, just when he said he would be here. A tall, solidly-built figure walks in.
“Inspector Watson?” I smile, standing to greet him. “Good evening.”
I am surprised that he is younger than I expected. He looks in his late forties, which is young for such an impressive reputation. He is solidly-built, with dark hair etched at the temples with grey. His face is rugged and intelligent. It is the eyes that hold the attention: dark and intense, they miss nothing. He seems to sense my scrutiny and looks up.
“You are wondering why I’m younger than you expected for my post,” he says.
I stare at him.
“Didn’t mean to embarrass you,” he adds, “but you can admit it if I’m right.”
“I…I was,” I stammer. “But how did you know that?”
“I saw your eyes move – they went to my face and my hair, looking for grey bits, to my hands and back. You don’t do that unless you’re trying to guess someone’s age.”
I smile. “I am impressed, Inspector.”
He shrugs, but seems pleased.
“You look tired,” I observe as he sits down heavily. He does – his eyes are underlined by prints of grey like bruises, and the wrinkle beside his mouth is scored into the flesh as if he has slept briefly at his desk.
“I am,” he agrees gruffly. “I never sleep much. Especially when a case is on my mind. Distracts me.”
“I see,” I smile. It seems he is known as the “Sleepless Detective” for a reason.
He smiles “If you have questions,” he says, shifting in his seat, “fire away. So to speak.” He grins. “I apologise in advance for my manners.”
“Well,” I begin. “First things first. This new case! It’s fascinating. I mean, women in hotels don’t just end up dead every day! Would you describe the scenario?”
“Sure,” he says. “We got a call from the hotel, saying that Mrs. Rebecca Jones, a young woman staying there a few days, was dead in her room. The body was a mess – poor woman clearly fought someone and was overcome after a hard fight. Now we’re following the leads. Usually, that’s easy. But this case is different,” he says darkly.
“What makes it different?” I ask, intrigued.
“Too many suspects,” he explains, exhaustedly.
“Usually, with a case in a small village, there’s a clear motive. Crimes of passion, theft. The odd weird person going on a killing spree. It narrows it down. But in this one, I’m up to my ears in suspects.”
“Oh,” I blink, surprised. “But Mrs. Jones – she seemed a beautiful, otherwise-ordinary, woman. Why would so many people want to kill her?”
He puffs his cheeks out. “So many reasons! We have a jealous husband, family members…and new clues keep turning up! I have my suspicions right now, which narrow it down. And then,” he adds darkly, “I think she had a lover.”
“Oh?” I ask.
“In this village,” he says. “I think that’s why she was here – to meet him. But who was it? Him, or her husband? Or are we on the wrong track completely?”
“How can you narrow it down?” I ask. “New clues, leads..?”
He sighs. “New clues? Please, no! Not on this one…We’ve got so many right now, and they all point in different directions. It’s a mess.”
The waitress comes up to take our order, and I am surprised when he places it for us both: “Two plates of grilled fish and a carafe of white wine, please.” His eyes twinkle at me.
I stare at him, amazed. “You are not going to convince me you can’t read my thoughts.”
He laughs. “Simple deduction. You’re new in Rockport, and Massachusetts is known for its seafood. Of course you’ll choose the fish! And it says at the door that this place is known for its grills, so you’d want to try it. You’re a city gal – of course you’ll pair grilled fish with white wine.” He grins at me, smugly.
I simply laugh and shake my head. “You have quite some reputation for being observant,” I say, disconcerted. “What else makes a good detective?”
“Persistence,” he says immediately. “You need to be persistent in this line of work. Things are thrown at you – new clues, new leads – every minute, sometimes. You need to pursue all of them, and ninety percent of them lead you nowhere. But if you miss just one clue, if you don’t follow each possible lead, you miss things. And then someone’ll get away with murder.”
“How do you deal with stress?”
“Stress?” he asks wearily. “I’ve got so much of it I’ve forgotten what it means.”
I laugh. “You must chill out sometime, Inspector. I don’t believe you never stop working.”
“I’d like to make you think that – it’ll keep the criminals out there guessing! But no – I do take some time off. My right-hand man insists on it. Alex Ford. If he sees me dropping off he insists I take time away. And he brings me here, normally. I love this place.” He sighs and leans back.
“I can see why,” I agree, turning to contemplate the view outside the window. “It’s so peaceful.”
He grins. “Don’t believe it. But I’m always on the lookout for anything odd,” he adds, and pats my hand. “Though, he adds, there’s plenty odd in this case. Screams in the dark, jealous husbands, lovers. Cryptic messages. And, what’s worst, a missing murder weapon. Keeps me up at night, it does.”
“Well,” I smile, “you are the Sleepless Detective.”
He grins wearily. “Yes, I am. I just hope I can solve this case, before someone else dies.”
Here you go… is my character interview with Inspector Richard Watson. This is a rare opportunity to speak with him, and be sure to read my book, “The Case of The Hated Body” to know more of him. Until then… take care.
That’s my 2 cents….
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