Monday, August 17, 2015

Children As Characters

I’ve always enjoyed having children as characters in my books. Sometimes they’re just part of the background crowd, but often they play major roles.

In my fourth Daisy Dalrymple mystery, Murder on the Flying Scotsman, Daisy’s ten-year-old stepdaughter-to-be (i.e., DCI Alec Fletcher’s daughter, Belinda) makes friends with an elderly man in the train and later finds him dead. She also finds a clue to how he died, though she doesn’t realize it. She’s important to the story in Styx and Stones, and again in Mistletoe and Murder, where she and her cousin Derek go hunting for clues in the woods and discover an ancient corset (which, however, turns out not to be a clue, to their disappointment!).

Belinda plays a part in several other books, notably Anthem for Doomed Youth, which is set partly at her boarding school. One of her school friends finds a body in that one. The cover shows Daisy calling the girls, who are lost in a maze. (The only cover that shows Belinda, with a friend, is Fall of a Philanderer.)

Some readers are disappointed when she’s missing for too long, and I get requests to put her in the next of the series.

Many of my Regencies also include children. The heroines of both Lavender Lady and Ginnie Come Lately, for instance, have large families of siblings. It’s an interesting challenge to differentiate them with age-appropriate speech and behaviour.

In the second and third books of my trilogy that starts with Miss Jacobson’s Journey, there’s a little half-Spanish girl who is three years old. The original paperback cover of Lord Roworth’s Reward had an adorable picture of her. Captain Ingram’s Inheritance takes place a few weeks later; in the meantime, if you judge by the cover, she has aged by about 5 years and bleached her hair. Ugh!!



Carola Dunn is author of the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, Cornish Mysteries, and multitudinous Regencies.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry for the deletion above. I thought I proofed it well, but I missed an error. :-(

    I must order some of your books for my Kindle, Carola. They sound so good!

    As for the kiddies, kudos to you for including them in your stories. For me this is a real plus, especially in books written with typical adult (G or PG rated) themes.

  3. It's amazing how many books don't even have a mention of children, considering how big a part of life they are! And after all, we've all been children, however long ago...

  4. One of my favorite Agatha Christie books had the child as the killer. The title escapes me at the moment.

    1. Wasn't it her first? Not published at the time. Hold on and I'll go look on my shelves...No, it was Allingham--the White Cottage Mystery. Published 1928 after serial pub. in the Daily Express. Later edited for book pub by ?her daughter, Joyce Allingham, I think in 1975.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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