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'You don't have to worry about the plot, really'

18 April 2022

‘I thought I was going to write a great novel about social justice, it was going to be a great work of literature. I'm really quite good at character, I can build a character that people can believe in, but you can't just have them sitting around chatting in a room, something's got to happen. And I couldn't think what to make happen...' (her comfort reading was crime fiction, so she decided to kill someone off) ‘and then I was away, because you've got that structure with traditional crime fiction. You don't have to worry about the plot, really. You've got a body, you've got a limited number of suspects. And you've got some form of resolution. Somebody said it's like a corset to hold you up.'

Ann Cleeves, author of 39 crime novels, including the Palmer Joe, Vera Stanhope, Matthew Venn, Jimmy Perez and Inspector Ramsay series in the Bookseller