The DI Frank Lyle Mystery series is set in the 1980s and early 1990s when forensic technique was not as advanced as it is today. DI Frank Lyle would turn 71 in 2014 so I have travelled back in time to 1991 after the Unholy Alliance case to interview him.
Name Detective Inspector Frank James Lyle
Age I was born on 2nd May 1943, it’s late September 1991 so I’m 48.
Can you describe yourself in 10 words? I’m 6’3” tall with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? I do things by the book as far as possible and I get results that way. I try to treat murder victims with the dignity and respect which their death took from them. I always insist on using the victim’s name as far as possible, rather than just saying the victim or the deceased and I have taught my team to do likewise. I always treat relatives with as much compassion as I can and I respect that grief takes different forms for different people.
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? My wife, Detective Constable (DC) Jayseera Lyle, is my rock and I value her because her love helped me through a very difficult time. I also value my son, James, from my first marriage. James is nineteen now and we have a great relationship. Also my colleague Detective Inspector (DI) Andrew Redfern is a good man to have around in both good times and bad and of course Jayseera’s and my beautiful 6 month old daughter, Jasmine. She can’t give me any lip yet but I’m waiting for that day.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? I get on very well with most people, which helps a lot in my line of work. Sometimes I feel I can get too emotional about cases which is not always a good thing.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I’m petrified of snakes. If one appears on TV I have to change channel.
Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. My world is the (fictional) city of Ashbeck in which I live and work. It’s a traditional city with a university and now the largest church, St Luke’s, has been upgraded to cathedral status. Ashbeck has everything one could want including, unfortunately, a high crime rate, but I would not have a job without it.
What do you think has been your toughest case to date and why? The Heir to Misfortune case was tough because Jayseera was pregnant with Jasmine and the case involved a very unpleasant character who was abusing his own teenage daughters as well as committing three murders against people who had dared to challenge his authority. I also had to deal with a betrayal within my own team and that really hurt me.
What has been the toughest aspect of your career to date? The one time my gut instinct let me down. I was so sure I had the right man but he murdered a valued colleague of mine before being murdered in prison. I paid a heavy price both personally and professionally for that mistake so I am wary of trusting gut instinct these days. You can read about that case in Second Chances, the first of my cases to be chronicled by Juliet B Madison. She’s Watson to my Holmes in the chronicling sense.
Do you think your upbringing has influenced your life and career choices in any way? Without a doubt. I was born on a council estate north of Oxford which was never out of the news in the early 1980s owing to crime delinquency and rioting. I had left before then, but while my parents and I lived there most kids were already on the wrong side of the law or too apathetic to change their lot. I was determined I wasn’t going to be like them and when I was fourteen my Dad got a new job in Ashbeck, a few miles south, so we moved.
Have your personal beliefs and values ever been challenged as a direct result of a case you’ve worked? I’m an agnostic. The Unholy Alliance case was about the murder of a curate during an ecumenical conference and it was a pretty brutal killing. We had a former copper helping us liaising between Ashbeck CID and the church. Canon Thomas Rice is a decent man but there was a lot of sermonising during that case, which I didn’t appreciate. But I understand how some people can cling to blind faith and I learnt that all Christians have the occasional doubt. It reinforced my belief that we should look for the good in everyone and, as a copper, that is very hard to do sometimes.
How do you relax when you’re off duty? In truth a good copper is never off duty. I like spending time with my wife and family. I also like listening to folk singer Joan Baez. She has a wonderful voice which rarely fails to relax me.
Who is your favourite fictional detective and why? Sherlock Holmes, without a doubt. The man was brilliant.
Book(s) in which this character appears plus links
DI Frank Lyle appears in Second Chances, Heir to Misfortune, Unholy Alliance and DI Frank Lyle’s Casebook Vol 1 as well as DI Frank Lyle’s Mystery Box Set which is a collective edition of the first three complete novels.
Book links. These Amazon redirect links will take you to the DI Frank Lyle books in your Amazon store with just one click
DI Frank Lyle’s Mystery Box Set http://bookShow.me/B00HMUHYVE
Second Chances http://bookShow.me/B00DNGS0A0
Heir to Misfortune http://bookShow.me/B00EQBAKC2
Unholy Alliance http://bookShow.me/B00GVGFNHW
DI Frank Lyle’s Casebook Vol 1 http://bookShow.me/B00FG57O0I