The author of a best-selling series of books featuring a London Met detective – who is also a wizard – is planning to set one of his novels in Aberdeen.
Rivers Of London creator Ben Aaronovitch reckons the Granite City is the perfect setting for a DC Peter Grant adventure, raising the possibility of a monster lurking at the bottom of Rubislaw Quarry.
“You have this 80 metre deep hole in the ground that’s full of water just now.
“You dug all the granite out then just put a fence around it and left it to fill up with water – anything could be living in there, seriously.
“Cthulhu could be down there,” said Ben, whose books mix gritty contemporary crime procedural alongside magic, laced with comedy.
Whether Lovecraft’s monster is lurking under the quarry waters is a moot point, but Ben revealed his plans ahead of appearing at Granite Noir today.
He will be in conversation with north-east crime writer Stuart MacBride in an event at the Music Hall as part of the four-day crime-writing festival.
The London-born writer, whose eighth “urban fantasy” Rivers Of London book, False Value, was published this week, credits Stuart with his fascination for Aberdeen.
“I didn’t even know where Aberdeen was until I read Cold Granite, other than it was where the pointy bit of the nose is (on the map),” he said.
“Every so often they allow me to set a book outside London. It’s fun to take your character, who is set in their ways, and move them somewhere else.
“Because of the Stuart MacBride books I feel like I have a handle on Aberdeen in a weird way.
“When I started researching I just found boggling things (like Rubislaw Quarry) and I thought, ‘I’m going to have fun with this ancient city’, and Aberdeen is an ancient city, with this granite core.”
Ben said Aberdeen won’t feature in the next Peter Grant novel, which he is working on alongside a couple of novellas.
“I reckon I will be up in Aberdeen by about 2022. I’ll have to come and spend some time up there first.”
He and Stuart will be discussing “magic, mayhem, crime-fighting and comics” at the Music Hall at 6pm.
“It’s called Wizardy, Magic & Serious Cybernetics, because the name of the company in False Value is the Serious Cybernetics Company… or Corporation. I can’t remember the quote now because I’m on the next book.”
He said False Value sees Peter in an unfamiliar environment, working for a tech start-up and “finds nefarious things going on, otherwise there wouldn’t be a novel”.
While crime writers are faced with the task of making the details of police procedure accurate, Ben, who has also written for Doctor Who, has the added task of creating a credible world where the mechanics of magic can work for his hero.
“It has to be said, compared to the constantly evolving internal structure of the Metropolitan Police, magic is a doddle,” said Ben.
“All you have to do is make it internally consistent, something I might add the Met Police aren’t. The slang changes from week to week and so does the internal structure of the police.
“I have to keep contacting my police people asking ‘are we operating as borough command now or have we consolidated the borough command into areas again?’”
“For me, with the police bureaucracy, the more you ground this in the reality of a proper police procedural, the easier it is to sell the magic. People will believe the magic if they believe the policing, because Peter does both.”
As well as being hugely popular books – Rivers Of London alone sold more than a million copies – the series has now been optioned by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s TV company, Stolen Pictures.
“But like all television it would be an enormously expensive show, because it takes place in central London and blows things up. So we will have to see whether someone will pick it up, because it’s going to take a lot of money.
“But they are both really nice guys and they have a very good team. We will just have to see where it goes.
“If it goes that will be fantastic – and I will be hugely rich, which is always nice.”
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