CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI?cafe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of you may be under the impression that it’s hard making crime fiction realistic especially if you don’t have a contact in the police that can help you out.  Alternatively you may lock yourself away every now and again with a few hours’ worth of cop reality shows.

You may even know some of the following five tips but here goes anyway.

1.            Your detective generally is never the first on the scene of a serious crime.  They’re usually called in after the uniformed officers have ascertained that it is a crime worthy of a detective’s time and energy; so get uniformed cops there first.  They can always antagonise or support your plain clothed sleuth.

2.            Whilst ever there is a Detective Inspector (DI) on duty, there is always a uniformed duty Inspector working at the same time.  What’s yours doing whilst the DI is sorting out the scene?  The chances are that they have been holding the fort and managing the scene and the Golden Hour until the DI can get there.  What some antagonism in your story?  Set the two Inspectors at each other’s throats.

3.            The pathologist should be appointed by the HM Coroner to perform the post-mortem on the deceased after they have been notified by the Coroner’s Officer that a dead body has been found.  So if you want your pathologist at the scene, early on, have a reason for them getting there so early, such as they are the only one in the county or they have been specially requested by the senior investigating officer (SIO).  Don’t forget though that the SIOs are taught not to call the pathologist in too early as they have a tendency to put the SIO under pressure to open the crime scene up to them.  Want a fly throwing in the ointment?  Let the pathologist barge into the scene and contaminate or destroy evidence in front of the SIOs very eyes.  Or turn it around and let the novice SIO suffer the wrath of the seasoned pathologist.

4.            Most detectives do not have a penchant for expensive, unusual whisky or eclectic music.  They tend to be like Joe average: like normal everyday alcohol and average genres of music.  They also do not tend to go around spouting off about their taste in music and calling everyone else a heathen.  Try giving them a liking for Eurovision songs and home-brewed ale.

5.            There is however a high divorce rate amongst detectives.  To conflict with this fact, there are a good number of detectives that have been married and divorced many time. How many marriages could your detective have been through? They always say that they’ll never do it again but they invariably do.  They can’t help it.


Secure your place NOW on the November 2012 Crime Fiction – Making it Real, weekend workshop designed for writers interested in learning more about the police, their procedures and practices.  There will be time to immerse yourselves in case studies and to bring along your very own questions to be answered.  Check out the Autumn 2012 Workshop page for more details.

For more information, contact me via e-mail at  –


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