As you can see I was attempting a dramatic opening. I remember clearly the events that raised this rich seam of drama in my mind. I was young at the time of the murder. It was the first murder of which I became aware of newspaper coverage of the crime, the victims, and then the trial. I remember my father's distress over the hanging of a man who may well be innocent.
"The judge placed the black cap on top of his wig and pronounced sentence on
the prisoner. "You will be taken from this place to prison from whence you
will be taken to a place to suffer death by hanging"
My father didn't agree with 'legalised murder'. He thought that a sentence of imprisonment for life was sufficient punishment. It allowed for errors in judgement, mistaken identity or other extenuating circumstances. When he was explaining his thoughts to me he told me he came to this decision when Derek Bentley was hanged for murder. A shooting of a policeman committed in Croydon in by Bentley/Craig obviously aroused a great deal of local interest at the time. Many years later it still distressed my father. He was worried that another man was about to be hanged when he may have been innocent of the crime.
I'm not quite sure where I intended to go after this dramatic opening. I'd worked out the beginning. But it had no middle and no ending. The latter surprises me. It surprises me because I have always chosen my books by reading by the last paragraph first.