Saturday, February 23, 2008


The freeway cut sharply through the mountains behind Los Angeles. East and north. In the distance we could see snow on the highest peaks.

This was goodbye to sunny Southern California, and a long road north to Sacramento, which was forecast to have a chilly weekend of wind and rain. Finally, we are on the road. The tour has swung into gear. I feel sad to be leaving the sunshine behind, but no doubt we will encounter it again in Arizona and Texas, before our itinerary takes us to the still frozen northerly climes of Colorado and Minnesota.

Suddenly, the road swoops down through the foothills, and the great plains of the Californian interior shimmer off into a distant haze of ominous cloud and rain. In the very far distance, east and west, the dark lines of jagged mountain ranges fringe what they call the breadbasket of California. Endless miles of fruit trees and grain crops. There is already blossom on the trees.

Our 7-hour journey north is punctuated by pitstops at Starbucks, and I remember yesterday, and my tour of the Forensic Science Service labs of Orange County. A tour guided by the lead forensics investigator, Grant Fry, who took us from the helipad on the roof of the "penthouse", down through every floor to the blood drying rooms in the basement. A fascinating journey through the latest forensic technology, which will find its way into the new book when I sit down to write it at the end of the tour.

The drive also gave me a chance to think about that book. About story developments and characters. It is taking rapid shape, both in my head and on paper.

Tomorrow begins a heavy weekend, with events in San Mateo and Corte Madera, in the San Francisco Bay area, and an email from Ed Kaufman at San Mateo alerted us to the need to bring more wine for the tasting. He was anticipating a crowd of sixty or more squeezing into his small bookstore. "We had a bigger uptake than anticipated," he said. "I did an interview about the event on a local radio show, and the phone hasn't stopped ringing since."

So now I must unroll the kilt from the stocking it travels in, dust myself down, and dive once more into the fray.

No comments: