Priestly’s An Inspector Calls was a huge influence behind Fragile Cord. You may recall it was made into a film starring Alastair Sim (yes, it shows my age that I remember it but in my defence I also remember it was an ‘old’ film even back then!) who played Inspector Poole. During a society celebration toasting the engagement between the offspring of two wealthy families the festivities are interrupted by a surprise visit from a police inspector investigating the suicide of a young woman.
The questions he asks relating to the case reveal they all had secrets linking them to her death, he was essentially apportioning blame.
Fragile Cord centres around the investigation into two cases:
- A pregnant mother who murders her son before killing herself
- The fatal stabbing of a local man in front of his family
It enabled me to explore the reasons why a parent may carry out such an unspeakable act but instead of there being just one reason, what if there were many, all with varying degrees of culpability? I also thought linking the investigation into her death with the sub plot, an investigation into a seemingly unrelated attack on a family man which leads to murder, would contrast two very different situations:
- The assault on a man desperately trying to cling onto his family
- A young mother desperately trying to get away from hers
I tried to replicate the way Priestly peels back each layer of respectability from his suspects, revealing something entirely unpleasant underneath, but instead of this being a straightforward whydunnit? I wanted to ramp up the randomness of it all to give the reader something to think about long after they finish reading it…