I've been researching away like a mad thing lately... well, maybe not mad. More like 'challenged'. I've been off to see the Harbour people and organised a tour; I've chatted to a very nice man in the police; I've nipped round the seven incorporated trades with a video camera; I've talked to the Sheriff's Office (which doesn't actually involve standing outside a wooden building in the wild west, while people drink rotgut from the bottle and brand each other's cattle on the buttocks*); and I've sat in on a session in the Court.
I'd never been to court before (because I'm a good boy I am, wash me hands and face before I come, I did) and it was nothing like I'd expected. For a start it was incredibly, toe curlingly, eat my own duodenum, DULL. Seriously, seriously dull. So dull it was almost fascinating in a hypnotically dull way. I sat there for an hour and a bit, thinking "this is bloody awful..." but I couldn't tear myself away as a progression of eight people stood, sat, were mumbled at, and given fines, or bound over for trial. I'm guessing they found it a lot more interesting than I did, being as they had more of a personal stake in the whole dreary thing.
Mostly it consisted of legal people reading things, repeating things another legal person had just said, passing pits of paper to one another, or not being there when their clients were dragged up from the cells. Maybe that's why trials aren't really televised in this country -- too dull. OK, so I know this whole legal thing is a solemn affair, but would it kill them to add a bit of razzmatazz? Some lighting effects? Dramatic music? Dancing girls?
And I should state for the record, Milord, that I wasn't sitting in on anything serious -- all the really nasty stuff goes up to the High Court -- just people who hadn't paid their parking tickets (for 4 years), or bought beer for a 14-year-old, broke a glass in a restaurant, or did something or other involving what sounded like a chicken and some sellotape (it was difficult to tell from the shambling dribble coming out of the defence lawyer's head).
But it rapidly became clear that I'd got loads and loads of things wrong in the first two books. And more in the third too. I am the King of Wrong! Bow down before my mighty armies of ineptitude! And maybe make offerings of scones, and cheese straws and some nice wine to go with it for when I'm off my regal antibiotics again.
On a different topic, I'd like to thank all those who've been in touch about their experience with cutting up dead animals. I've been having some problems with the old email stuff, but I shall get back to soon. Honest!
*Which sounds a bit 'YMCA' to me, if you know what I mean.