You know what’s fun? When you make a commitment to be part of a blog tour and the week you start a new job, you completely get your dates mixed up and your brain feels frazzled and you miss your date to post The Mayfly blog post from the author no less, people. SiGHS. My apologies to author James Hazel and Emily over at Bonnier who kindly let me be on the blog tour and I suck people, I suck. Boo.
So on to The Mayfly — why did I want to be part of this? Because it’s a lawyer/detective, it’s Britcrime and it’s about an epic conspiracy reaching back to The Holocaust. Here Hazel gives you a tantalising glance at what’s happening inside Charlie Priest’s life…
The background to The Mayfly is the greatest crime in human history: The Holocaust. The fundamental basis for this perversion was a lie. The German people in the 1930s did not develop a deep-rooted hatred of the Jews all by themselves – Hitler re-educated them. He did this by spreading the lie that a Jewish conspiracy had led to the Germans’ humiliating defeat in the First World War and the much-hated Treaty of Versailles whilst characterising the Jews as a race, rather than a religion.
This fake news had catastrophic consequences and perpetrated the myth that the Jews were the enemy, irrespective of their individual culpability (or lack of) for their alleged wrongdoing. Furthermore, by departmentalising the Jews as a race, they couldn’t even absolve themselves of responsibility through Baptism; the ‘guilt’ was in their blood.
All Jews were guilty by association, by virtue of them being Jewish.
In another post concerned with the existence or otherwise of an evil gene, i.e. the concept that evil is genetic in nature, I mention the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into a school and shot dead 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself.
Lanza suffered from, inter alia, Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, which led to (wholly erroneous and sensationalised) media speculation about the possible dangers of the condition. Suddenly, people with Asperger syndrome were dangerous. This is a real-life example of guilt by association.
It may seem obvious, but any such notion was a total fallacy. For a start, Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder and not a mental illness – the suggestion that this condition was responsible for Lanza’s behaviour was a dreadful slander.
In The Mayfly, Charlie’s brother, Dr William Priest, had admitted to killing eight people, although the true number is likely to be significantly higher. He was given the special verdict, in this context meaning that he was declared insane. The court ordered that he be detained indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital.
We will find out in later Priest thrillers that the ruling was controversial, not least because the law relating to the use of insanity as a defence to murder is still based partly on a House of Lords case in 1843. Rules from another century which are still applied today.
Since William’s trial, Charlie is constantly battling an irreconcilable conflict: on the one hand, he is disgusted by William’s crimes, humiliated by the stain on his family name. On the other hand, William remains Charlie’s closest confidant and adviser.
Laden with guilt, Charlie carries around the ghosts of William’s Victims with him wherever he goes.
Charlie’s guilt by association may seem irrational – he had nothing to do with his brother’s conduct and, as we shall see, was powerless to stop it; but things are not always what they seem in the world of Charlie Priest…
… Yeah, I didn’t see that last line coming either. Did you?? What do you think of Charlie Priest???
And here are the rest of the awesome people involved in the tour and they’ll post on time because they’re all awesome.