Lloyd & Hill Books
- Unlucky For Some
- Births, Deaths and   Marriages/Death in the Family
- Scene of Crime
- Picture of Innocence
  - Read extract
- Plots and Errors
- A Shred of Evidence
- Verdict Unsafe
- The Other Woman
- Murder...Now and Then
- The Murders of Mrs.Austin and   Mrs.Beale
- Redemption/Murder at the Old   Vicarage
- Death of a Dancer/Gone to Her   Death
- A Perfect Match
Other Books
- Record of Sin
- An Evil Hour
- The Stalking Horse
- Murder Movie
Writing as Elizabeth Chaplin
- Hostage to Fortune
Useful Info
- Chronological Order
- Translations
- Title Changes
- Lloyd & Hill interview
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- Lloyd & Hill on TV
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PICTURE OF INNOCENCE (Lloyd and Hill #9)
Macmillan, London/Fawcett (Ballantine Books), NY (1998)

My fourteenth novel, published Macmillan, London/Fawcett (Ballantine Books), NY 1998. Hardback, paperback, large print.

More than half of Bartonshire, it seemed, had entertained murderous thoughts at some time or another about bullying farmer Bernard Bailey. Which might have explained why his property was protected by more security devices than Fort Knox.

All, sadly, to no avail.

After six months of highly publicised death threats, Bernard’s bloodied corpse is discovered in his isolated farmhouse – launching DCI Lloyd and DI Judy Hill into the most unusual murder enquiry of their careers.

For as the evidence is sifted, the question for once isn’t ‘Who stood to gain from the death?’ but ‘Why didn’t they do it sooner?’

Did this one work the way you wanted it to?
On the whole, yes. Most people seem to like it. But, much like Record of Sin, it all depends on how you feel about Rachel, the central character. Once again, I merely offer her as a person for you to meet – whether you like or loathe her depends on you. If you like her, the book works. But she does seem to produce very strong reactions! And the odd thing is that those who dislike her imagine things about her that I never wrote.

One reviewer said that we were being asked to believe that men had given up fortunes for her – who? When? I never knew that! And a reader on Amazon said that since she mixed with the rich and famous she might have learned to speak properly. Rich? I don’t think so. She married someone who hoped to be rich, if she gave him a son, but he actually had creditors circling like vultures. And to the best of my knowledge, she never knew anyone famous at all. Perhaps she led a secret life that I knew nothing about. (I’m still working on how mixing with the rich and famous improves one’s grammar.) That same reader said that Rachel was a slut, as if this might come as news to me. Of course she is! Does that mean she isn’t allowed to be the central character in a novel?

Do you object to criticism?
Only when people are criticising me for something they made up themselves. Or when they give a wrong impression. One magazine reviewer said that Rachel being able to hear in her bedroom what was being said downstairs by means of the old-fashioned chimney breast was difficult to credit. Perhaps it is, but it’s entirely possible, and anyway the plot in no way depended on that quirk of architecture. It was merely a slightly more interesting way of having her overhear a conversation than listening at a keyhole. But I truly don’t mind constructive criticism – I very often agree with it.

Is there ever a clash of cultures?
Yes. Sometimes this is obvious, as with using a peculiarly British milieu, and having to try to make it comprehensible to Americans and others. But on other occasions, you can’t legislate against it. The aforementioned Amazon reader says, for instance, that she knew early on she wouldn’t like Picture of Innocence, because Curtis Law was surprised to find that the dealer from whom he was buying black market prescription drugs was carrying a gun. But in Britain, we don’t have a gun-culture. Dealing in Class C drugs has a maximum sentence of five years; possession of a firearm for the purposes of causing fear of violence has a maximum sentence of ten years. As the Americans would say – do the math. Curtis had every right to be surprised. It was on seeing the gun that he realised that it was an even bigger set-up than he had imagined, run by out-and-out gangsters with a lot more at stake than stolen prescription drugs. She would still have hated the novel even if she had known that, of course, but perhaps not quite so soon!

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