The beginnings of the Diamond and Doran Mysteries are a little murky.
One summer, a long time ago, I took a screen writing course for fun. The point was to get to a place where I could write a short screenplay on any subject that could be graded by the professor. As mystery was always my go to for entertainment it seemed the right place to start for the screenplay. By the time I was done I had my script and it was a mystery, but these two characters, Arthur Diamond and Billy Doran were only peripheral players. The screenplay was set in Arizona and the star was a loner detective called Kyle. I didn’t say it was a good screenplay. I finished the course, got a decent grade and put everything aside, but I kept getting this distant echo of voices in the back of my mind. ‘Hey, don’t forget about us.’ ‘Don’t just leave us here in limbo.’ Diamond and Doran, calling me, jumping up and down, waving their arms and wanting to be heard. Weird, I know, but that’s how we writers roll.
Finally, I couldn’t ignore them any longer, and as I had just discovered an event in Chicago history that I’d had no previous knowledge of, the Haymarket bombing of May 4 1886, it seemed the perfect time and place to slot in a couple of imperfectly matched cops to solve a baffling mystery together. If you haven’t read Madman yet, I won’t post spoilers here. Go to our home page and sign up for the newsletter to get your free download of the book, you’ll get the whole story there. What I can tell you is, that both Diamond and Doran came to me fully formed. Billy Doran was a middle aged, irascible Irishman with twenty years in the Chicago police department. A widower with the burden of five unmarried daughters weighing heavily on his shoulders. He was tired, he was jaded, and he had just lost his best friend in the bombing. Oh, and I should mention he has no love for rookies, or the English.
Enter Arthur Diamond. A pale, tall, flame haired strip of a young man, born in Toronto, Canada, then part of Britain. A British army veteran of the Sudan campaign, a hero and Victoria Cross recipient, who is looking for somewhere to fit in. And now he’s the very English rookie that Doran loathes and despises. Let the fun and games begin. 📷Police stars 1870s to 1907Along the way in the Diamond and Doran Mysteries we gather other men, good and bad, who help or harm our heroes as each mystery unfolds. We will visit the bad guys another time, and the good guys in next Friday’s blog. For now, as you read through Madman, Poison, Vendetta, and later this year, Tontine, you will meet Niels Jensen, Harry Andrews, Jerry Callaghan, Enoch Watkins, and the Pinkerton agent and former Chicago P. D. cop, Drew McMillan, who has his own early cases recounted in the Drew McMillan Case Files. Check them out on our Books page.
The men of the Diamond and Doran Mysteries are complex and contrary, sometimes annoying and stubborn, but you can count on them all in a crisis. Even when it’s a family crisis. Come and join the Diamond and Doran Mysteries family, they’d love to meet you, and you will love meeting them.