This is a rich story that draws on family jokes, history and contemporary US culture. It is set in Seattle and on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. There are generations of villains, a mystery in an old oil painting and lots of adventures before the treasure is found. The setting of the story both in history and in the Sound makes its own contribution to the success of the story. This is not the first time that I’ve had a role in one of my stories but I don’t think that I’ve ever been quite so daffy and vague as I am here.
Woke readers might bristle at the appropriation of American First Nations history here and the “noble warrior” presented in Ranger Torres. This is a minefield for the writer sensitive to the critical reaction of people to anything like a patronising presentation of others. A patronising treatment is almost implicit, I’m afraid, in the naïve style in which my stories are written. I can only ask for forgiveness if I get it wrong. Along the way, I have tried to be respectful of diversity of all kinds whether it is Spanish colonial governors, pirates, the elderly, conservationists and indigenous Americans. As in all my writing, there is a strong feminist streak. I love the character of Lily Evans as much as Ashby does. It’s also fun to reference cruise ships and their elderly, quirky passengers – of whom I am one.