There's a disturbing amount of coincidence going on at the moment. On Sunday She Who Must Read Horse Magazines Non-Stop and I were plonked in front of the telly, watching Rumpole of the Bailey when we should have been tidying up the house ready for Brother Christopher and his slightly pregnant wife Kim to come for lunch. 'Rumpole and the Heavy Brigade' it was called. It's been a long, long time since I've seen Rumpole on the telly, but there it was, tempting us. "Don’t tidy the lounge," it said, "watch me instead!" Well, the beef was ready to go in the oven and everything else was prepared. And it did ask so nicely…
So, watch it we did. And there's Leo McKern as Rumpole, called in to defend a wee scroat who's accused of stabbing poor old Tosher* MacBride**. Now, aside from being a first-rate bit of the old tellevisual malarkey it was something of a funny coincidence. MacBride isn't that common a name, not where I come from at least. Pretty darn rare. McBrides, you sometimes hear about, but MacBrides not so much.
Then over the next couple of days I've fallen over the name a couple of times, on other telly programs, on the internet… Once even on the radio. Nothing for years, and now some weird convergence has occurred and all the MacBrides are coming out of the woodwork. Maybe it's some weird cult?
This all connects with the dilemma I was mentioning the other day*** – the one I are been mostly thinking about whilst fighting with the guttering. TSA has two very different threads, which are bridged by one character, who isn't the protagonist. Now I COULD just throw in some convenient coincidence to draw my main character into the main thread, but that seems like cheating. That kind of thing tends to make me wince a bit when I come across it in books and films, even though we all know that coincidence and luck do play a big part in successful investigations. Where possible I like to make what happens a logical extension of the what the people are doing. Only trouble is, I have no idea what that's going to be for this book. I know there has to be one, I just don’t know what it is yet. And thinking about it isn't helping much.
I suppose I'll just have to keep on writing and hope the old subconscious knows what it's doing.
By the way – if you get the chance, try out the Rumpole books by John Mortimer. Very good.
* Tosher T.O.S.H… before anyone makes with the funnies.
** As 'That good man Tosher MacBride' is dead before the show starts I've no idea if he's spelt 'Mc', or 'Mac', but it's my blog and if it's the 'Mc' spelling it kind of puts a kybosh on this whole post, so let's all just play nice and accept the fact it's 'Mac', OK?
*** You see, you knew there was a point to this somewhere. Not much of one, but a point nonetheless.