Scene of the Crime – Quintin Jardine

Quintin Jardine lets us inside the 'The Hermitage'.

Posted on May 25, 2018 in Behind the Scenes, Guest Author, Scene of the Crime

Sir Robert Morgan Skinner, KBE, QPM, was born in 19** in Motherwell, Lanarkshire; I was born there too, ** years earlier. The asterisks are there for a reason that is simple in concept and complex in execution. Bob, lucky b*stard that he is, doesn’t age in real time. He lives in one of those parallel universes, where clocks don’t tick and things just evolve. This is very handy when creating a 30-book crime series.

In my universe he came into being on a hot sticky terrace in L’Escala, Spain. (I’m there now but it’s neither hot nor sticky.) I’d just read a pretty dire crime novel and had been ordered to prove that I really could do better. I was naïve back then. The only mitigation I can offer for my stupidity in actually writing my first novel in long-hand that only I could read is that it was so long ago that domestic computers were rare and Amstrad word processers were not items to be taken on holiday.

My second novel was written conventionally, most of it in my spare room in Scotland. The third took shape in the living room of another Spanish apartment. The thing is, until recently, I’ve had two work spaces, crammed into my two homes. It was only last year that I decided to rationalise things and build myself a proper base, in my garden, in Gullane. That’s where Bob lives now; that’s where I do all my creative work. Al, my son, has christened it The Hermitage. It’s pretty plush, with a shower room, beer fridge, a kitchen of sorts and, of course, Sky telly.

While I work, Bob and I are observed by a print of Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks at the Diner’, two originals by the late, eminent Emilio Coia, and a framed letter. It was written by Joseph Conrad, in the last year of his life, to my great-uncle, with whom he sailed the China Seas in a vessel called the Vidar. Occasionally, when I’m stuck, I give it a glance.

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