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How far apart are crime writing and poetry?

28 April 2014

I have been interested in both equally all my life. All through childhood I wrote verses and mysteries. There is, for me, one connection: Structure. My poetry is metrical, rhyming. My crime novels are highly structured. I never start out with a dead body. I start out with an impossible scenario. Opening questions should be mysterious, weird, intriguing and contain the seeds of the solution. The structure has to be meticulous - I'm a structure freak.

I had the idea for my first crime novel, Little Face, in 2002, the day after my first baby, Phoebe, was born. When she was six months, we went to Crete where I wrote the synopsis: a woman goes out leaving her baby with her husband. On her return, there is a baby in the house and it is wearing her daughter's babygro, but it is not her baby.'

Sophie Hannah, author of nine novels, including The Telling Error and five poetry collections, in the Observer