I’m absolutely delighted to be kicking off Toby Faber’s debut thriller blog tour for Close to the Edge. My thanks to Tim Donald and Muswell Press for the ARC – can’t wait to read / review it! In the mean time, I have a fabulous guest post on disposing of bodies… totally up my street…because of writing…of course! First let’s find out a bit about the author and this book!
About the Author
I was a scientist at university and worked in investment banking and as a management consultant before deciding I would never forgive myself if I didn’t accept an invitation to join the publishing company founded by my grandfather, Faber and Faber. I was there for five years, spending four of them as managing director, before leaving in 2001 to become a full-time writer.
Nowadays I remain on the Board of F&F and am Chairman of its sister company Faber Music but spend as much time as I can writing and lecturing (generally to Arts Societies in the UK and overseas). You might say that the general trajectory of my career has been away from money and towards quality of life. I also generally point out that the only one of my books to be published by Faber is the (forthcoming) history of the firm, Faber & Faber: The Untold Story.
Morning rush hour on the London underground and Laurie Bateman is on her way to work when she witnesses a terrible accident. The elderly gentleman next to her on the platform falls onto the tracks and is fatally injured. With the police uninterested, Laurie is drawn to investigate and soon finds herself breaking into the tube network in the dead of night searching for a clue dropped by the dead man, only to be pursued by two unknown assailants whom she narrowly escapes. But Laurie’s troubles are far from over and soon she loses her job, has her phone stolen and discovers her flat has been burgled and her flatmate assaulted. It takes her father to persuade her that everything might be connected. Laurie starts to dig deeper, unaware that as she gets closer to the truth, she is endangering not only herself, but also everyone she loves
How do you dispose of a body? It is the classic question that any neophyte crime writer is likely to type into Google at some point, worrying as they do so. What if my spouse disappears in mysterious circumstances some time in the next few months? What will the police make of this?
The answer that comes back may be reassuring to any law-abiding citizen who is not psychopathically inclined, but it is hardly helpful to those of us hoping to commit the perfect crime, if only on paper: bodies are actually very difficult to destroy. Doing so requires specialist equipment (think of Fargo’s woodchipper or Breaking Bad’s acid bath), enough time unobserved to dig a grave so deep that wildlife take no interest, access to deep water or a fierce fire, again unobserved, or absolute confidence that the police are not going to be searching your chosen disposal facility any time soon. Add to this the very real difficulties involved in handling a decomposing corpse, stiffened by rigor mortis, and you start to develop an appreciation of the issue. That is before we even get onto the smell.
This was the problem which I could be said to have ducked in my first novel. There is a point at which bodies have been concealed, possibly destroyed, but because my main character does not know how this happens, readers who see everything through her eyes remain in happy ignorance as well.
That is all very well, of course, but I could not allow myself – as writer – to get away so lightly. So I know what happened to those bodies. Will any of my readers guess too? Well, they won’t find many clues in the book, but a bit of determined thinking may get them to the answer. In the end, the people disposing of the bodies do have access to some very simple specialist equipment. Its existence is only suggested in the novel, but it must exist as part of the lifestyle I am portraying, and – yes – a little bit of google searching confirms that the method I am thinking of is perfectly feasible, and even ecologically sound.
Thanks for a fabulous guest post, Toby! I’m now going to have to read your book to find out if I can figure out the disposal methods!