Third degree: Cath Staincliffe

Pic: © Paul Herrmann

Manchester-based crime writer Cath Staincliffe is interrogated below for evidence of her TV viewing and reading activities. She writes the novels based on the Scott & Bailey series, which stars Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones and is soon to return to ITV – with her latest book about the female detectives being Bleed Like Me. Cath is also the author of the Sal Kilkenny private eye stories and creator and scriptwriter of Blue Murder, which was on ITV and starred Caroline Quentin. 

Your favourite British crime series or thriller on TV?
(I’ll tell you now I’m rubbish at choosing single answers). Scott & Bailey, Prime Suspect, Life on Mars, Morse, Cracker, Z Cars.  Can I have The Singing Detective too?

Favourite US crime series or thriller on TV?
Justified, Southland, Breaking Bad, Hill Street Blues, Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, The Sopranos. And can I chuck in Jack Irish (Australian), which I really like.

Top TV cop?
At the moment it’s Raylan Givens in Justified.

Which unfilmed book/character should be made into a TV drama?
Hard this because choosing something to be adapted means a new interpretation of well-loved characters (which might be awful). Maybe a series with a fresh location we’ve not seen before like the Leaphorn and Chee novels by Tony Hillerman or Steve Hamilton’s chilly Alex McKnight stories. Or Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins – they could be amazing.

If another of your novels were filmed, who would you cast to be the hero? 
No idea. When Caroline Quentin was cast as Janine Lewis in Blue Murder she wasn’t how I imagined the detective in the book but she was brilliant in the role and made it her own so that after that I could only see her as that character.

What do you watch with a guilty conscience (or what’s your guilty pleasure)? 
Can’t think of anything really – there’s not enough time to watch all the good stuff (I only see a couple of hours a day) let alone rubbish.

Least favourite cop show/thriller? 
Never really warmed to Silent Witness.

Do you prefer The Wire or The Sopranos
Neck and neck.

Marple/Poirot or Sherlock Holmes? 
Philip Marlowe.

Wallander – BBC or the Swedish version?
Enjoyed both.

US or British television crime dramas?
If I absolutely had to pick I’d choose US, but it’s a very close call.

Your favourite crime/thriller writers?
James Lee Burke, Tana French, Thomas H. Cook, Denise Mina, Walter Mosley, Steve Mosby, Belinda Bauer, Don Winslow, Kate Atkinson, Simon Lelic, Laura Wilson, Ken Bruen, Dennis Lehane, Claire Seeber, Sue Grafton … I could go on … and on.

Have you read a crime novel that’s really knocked you out lately?
Yes! Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer, also Broken Harbour by Tana French. 

Favourite non-crime/thriller author?
Carol Birch, Toni Morrison, Sarah Waters, Kate Grenville.

Favourite crime movie or thriller?
Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. And if you won’t let me have that then Fargo, Con Air, LA Confidential, The Usual Suspects, Insomnia, In the Heat of the Night.

You’ve been framed for murder. Which fictional detective/sleuth would you want to call up?
I’d pick DCI Gill Murray and her Scott & Bailey team.  She’s bright, clever enough to see what’s really going on and she’d be totally committed to getting me off. Janet and Rachel would work their magic, Janet with her skill and sensitivity and Rachel with her reckless flair. Then we could all go to the pub for a good natter afterwards.
• In addition to Bleed Like Me, Cath Staincliffe has a new standalone novel out in April – Blink of an Eye.

CrimeTimePreview will be previewing Scott & Bailey 3 tomorrow…

Follow @crimetimeprev

%d bloggers like this: