Today the police turned up at my door. Again. Now, I don't know about you, but whenever a policeman turns up at my door and says "Are you Donna Moore?" I always start to panic. Of course, it's to be hoped that a policeman isn't going to turn up at your door and say "Are you Donna Moore?" That's an altogether different problem. My immediate response is to think a) Oh my God what's happened to everyone I love, followed swiftly by b) What the hell have I done? and sometimes c) Has someone sent me a strip-o-gram?

Now, it just so happens that every single time a policeman has turned up at my door I've been on the decidedly underside of dressed.

The last time I had a brush with the law, it was early one Saturday morning. There was a knock on the door and it was a policeman who had come to interview my ex and I. I was in my pyjamas so he said he'd give me a few minutes and then come back. I must have looked pretty scary because he didn't turn up until half an hour later. When he finally arrived I said to him "Sorry if my appearance scared you so much that you gave me enough time to go out to the dancing."

What had happened was that a couple of days previously an elderly man was knocked over in the street and he died. Complicating matters was that it was a police car which knocked him over, so, obviously, they have to do a REALLY thorough investigation. The policeman said that it was like doing a murder enquiry, even though it wasn't a murder. He had to fill in forms for both John (my ex) and I.

He said "We'll go to the first person first" and turned to John.

"Excuse me" I said "But who's to say HE'S the first person?"

He looked a bit shocked but laughed and said "OK, you can go first then ...it's just that he was sitting nearest to me."

Weak, very weak. He asked name, address, age, telephone number, where I was born (I bit my tongue before saying Newport Pagnell Gas Station - pump 4, and just answered the county)and height. As he was writing down my height I said "Oh god, you're not going to ask my weight are you?" Luckily he said no. Then he asked whether I was known by any other name. I didn't think that Tootsbinswanger or Tillie Tinkelpaw was relevant, so I kept schtum. I hope I don't get hauled up for withholding evidence.

Then he gave me the form to fill in the next bit - you had to circle your hair colour, eye colour, build (oh God - the ignominity of having to circle 'fat'; but 'pleasantly plump' or 'the tubby side of voluptuous' just weren't on the form. Skin type 'pale' (I decided not to go for 'spotty' even though a huge zit had appeared on my chin that very morning - I just hoped that it would disappear in a couple of days and NOT be a permanent distinguishing feature). Then there was a question that asked for tattoos/piercings/peculiarities/ scars.

"Do you have any extra sheets - I can't fit all my peculiarities in on 3 lines."

Then it was John's turn, or "Person number 2" as the policeman called him from then on. I liked that. I used that from then on.

While person number 2 was filling in the form the policeman said "I'll now be able to go back to the Equal Opportunities officer and tell him that I did everything correctly."

"How humiliating." person number 2 said.

"Yes, you've learned a valuable lesson here today" person number 1 said.

Meanwhile, person number 2 was agonising over his form "Do I have light brown or dark brown hair? Is it straight, or short? Or straight AND short?"

"Is there a box for old-fashioned?" I said. "If not, straight and short will do."

And I could see him visibly sucking in his stomach when he got to the 'build' question. 'Slim' was the look he was going for I believe. I caught a glimpse of his form as he handed it back. God help the police if they ever need to search for John. They'll be looking for someone who looks remarkably like Johnny Depp, when Johnny Rotten would be more accurate.

Then the policeman's cell phone rang. Imagine this big butch bloke in a uniform (steady), and his cell phone's trilling away with Britney's 'Ooops I did it again'.

"How disappointing," I said. "I would have expected you to have the theme tune from The Bill or The Sweeney."

"I have. When the station rings it plays The Sweeney."

So there you have it. If I ever come to write a story about a police investigation I have some background research. I'm not exactly sure that it's any use though :o) He probably went out of here thinking "Two dodgy characters if ever I saw them. Pale and Fat was a bit mad. Tall, Slim and Good-Looking is obviously a pathological liar. And what the hell were all those books with 'murder' in the title?"

But I digress, today was my second brush with murder. I woke up at 5.30 with a horrendous migraine, took a migraine tablet and went back to bed. The pills zonk me out so when there was a knock on the door I scrambled into my furry black dressing gown and shuffled to answer it, looking like a grizzly bear just out of hibernation. Two police persons stood on my doorstep. "Can you come back in 10 minutes?" I slurred. Yes, Donna - great impression. Anyway, they came back the obligatory half an hour later, by which time I had discovered what it was all about. I went into the kitchen to make a cuppa, happened to glance out of the kitchen window to see a body covered in a white sheet in the next garden. I knew it was a body because a foot was sticking out.

They told me the man had died at around 9pm. "I was watching The Apprentice and doing the ironing" said I. Constable Monroe and I had a nice little chat about The Apprentice (none of which went down in my witness statement). The crime fiction fan in me wondered if he was just asking me questions about it so as to prove I WAS actually sitting in my living room in front of the TV rather than in the next back close killing a man wearing at least one trainer. My witness statement will doubtless be the dullest witness statement ever "Witness was ironing her smalls...scrub that...better call them her larges, given the size of her bottom...at the time of the murder." However, I do like to think I've given them a major clue by something that didn't happen. "I WAS in my kitchen at 9pm exactly" I said.

They looked at me suspiciously. "What were you doing and how do you know?" "I was fetching the iron, and when I walked back into the living room The Apprentice had just started. And I didn't hear anything." Yes, I can see the headlines now "Woman witnesses absolutely nothing."

As they left, I managed to offend one of them. "You've got a lot of books" he said, stopping to look at one of my bookshelves. Then he looked at his colleague in a significant way. "Are they ALL about murder?"

"Mostly," said I, sweating profusely "I write about it too." I could have bitten my tongue off.

"Well, we are Constables Monroe and Begley," he said. "You can use those names in your next book if you like."

"That's a good name," I said to Constable Begley. "I think I'll use that."

"What about MINE" whined Constable Monroe. I could see him mentally adding 'Witness was suspiciously unco-operative' to my witness statement.

If I'm arrested, please could someone bring me bail money and a file with a cake in it.

Three hours later and the body has now been taken away and a woman is out in the back close with her 2 children, hanging up her washing. Only in Glasgow...And I'm sure one of the things she hung up is the sheet that was covering the body...

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Comment by Cher on August 9, 2012 at 1:15am

Hi Donna, I really enjoyed your blog post about the police visits to your home. Would you consider letting us air it sometime on a crime fiction podcast, www.crimecitycentral.com ? I realize that it's not technically fiction, but we're not really a technical bunch. It's a free podcast, so we can't pay for stories, but we have a growing fan base. I want to expand the female hero base, and we've a Scottish narrator just itching for a good story. Would you consider letting us use it?

Comment by Mike Brown on April 23, 2010 at 1:32pm
Quite the experience.
Comment by Donna Moore on May 29, 2009 at 7:01am
Thanks IJ!
BR - VERY tough - I'm a hard-boiled dame you know :o)
Vincent - somehow, I don't think that would make for good viewing
Comment by Vincent Holland-Keen on May 23, 2009 at 3:51am
Don't think I'll congratulate you on having someone killed outside your house, but I didn find myself reading it and thinking that all those TV cop shows are so boringly *not* true to life compared to your account. Of course you chatted to one of the officers about The Apprentice, but would Lewis do that or Frost or McFudgeley? Noooo, because they're trying to be all gritty and realistic.

So yes, you go show 'em what crime's really like, girl!
Comment by B.R.Stateham on May 22, 2009 at 8:42am
Say, lady. You live in a tough neighborhood.
Comment by I. J. Parker on May 22, 2009 at 8:27am
Funny! Congrats!

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