Sunday, 14 April 2013

Was Thatcher a Patient?

Who Are the Real Patients in The Pimlico Tapes?

Plenty of people have asked me this question since I wrote the book. I found it quite amusing but quite natural that people were interested. Some readers thought they recognised one of the characters. One was sure a character was based upon them! Several characters do seem very like a well known TV presenter or other celebrity. If these people were who people think they are, do you think I would admit it? Exactly!

It quite clearly states in the introduction to the book that the names have been changed. There is also a statement on the publisher page, assuring readers that any similarity in the characters in the book to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Today I found myself in a locked basement, trying to explain the above to a certain group of rather forceful gentlemen who were suggesting I might like to take the book off the market – pronto! And what was it they found so worrying, I asked. It  transpired, someone had assured them that one of the characters was in fact based upon a certain ex-British Prime Minister – "the same lady we know and admire in all but name," they said.
I told them there was no way of knowing this since it was a matter of public knowledge that the lady in questing had met her end at the Ritz last week. I felt inclined to comment that there must be a good storyline there too, but I held my tongue.

One interesting thing came out of this interview though. These gentlemen, unintentionally or otherwise, let slip the name of the therapist in the book. Clearly they had done their homework. Better than I had in fact, but then they have greater powers at their disposal. They may have been hoping to ascertain whether or not I knew his name, which I didn't.  In fact I was never completely sure until today that he existed. He might have been an actor. In which case, might the female character (I will not say which one) who had caused me to be detained in a basement not in fact be the very same lady who these gentlemen felt such admiration for? It is impossible for me to say.
"How could I know?" I asked.
"Where are the tapes, Mr Anders?" The small nasty one replied.
"I burned them after I had transcribed them, of course," I said, "after I had given them new identities. It seemed the decent thing to do."

Unlike a certain Mr Assange, I was let go this same evening. They would be watching me and might want to ask me more questions, they said. Oh and I might want to avoid mentioning this to anyone! They picked the wrong man. As any of my friends would have told them, I just can't keep a secret.