Putting a Face to the Name is an occasional series discussing how I visualise the characters from some of my favourite reads.
Detective Sergeant William Fawkes:
“…the detective nicknamed Wolf: William Oliver Layton-Fawkes…Solidly built, with a weathered face and deep blue eyes, he looked to be in his early forties…he might have been quite attractive if he hadn’t looked as though he had been awake for months and had the weight of the world bearing down on him”
Who else, but the ‘solidly built’, slightly ‘weathered’ and definitely more than ‘quite attractive’ Sean Pertwee. For me, he would be perfect as Wolf – he’s played a lot of tough nuts in his time, and he does ‘tortured’ very well.
Detective Sergeant / Detective Chief Inspector Emily Baxter:
“Nearly a decade [Wolf’s] junior, Baxter was almost as tall as him. Her dark-brown hair turned black under the gloom of the unimpressive entrance hall and, as always, she wore dark make-up that made her attractive eyes appear abnormally large. Dressed in a fitted shirt and smart trousers, she looked him up and down with a mischievous grin”
For Baxter, partly based on her physical description and partly based on her ballsy, not-giving-a-shit nature, I imagined the striking and steely Charlotte Riley, who I mainly know from her equally ballsy and not-giving-a-shit appearance in the ITV Marple adaptation of The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side.
Detective Constable Alex Edmunds:
“The young man bumbling through the crowd towards them was only twenty-five years old, stick-thin and immaculately presented, apart from his scruffy strawberry-blond hair. He was holding a notebook at the ready and smiled eagerly at the chief inspector”
“…the flickering tea lights lending the room an orangey glow that emphasised Alex Edmunds’s flyaway ginger hair. Her gangly ex-colleague loitered awkwardly, empty beer bottle in hand. Although tall herself, Baxter had to stand on tiptoes to embrace him”
Shortly before reading Ragdoll, I had been addicted to series 7 of The Great British Bake Off and, as soon as I read the description of Edmunds – plus his slightly awkward, eager-to-please persona – I couldn’t help but imagine him as adorable 2016 Bake Off finalist, Andrew Smyth. As soon as his name was mentioned again in Hangman, the same images came to mind, so, for me, Andrew Smyth is Alex Edmunds!
Special Agent Elliot Curtis:
“Special Agent Elliot Curtis with the FBI,’ Vanita announced…‘It’s an honour, ma’am,’ said the tall, black woman, holding out her hand to Baxter. She was wearing a masculine-looking suit, had tied back her hair so tight that it looked shaved and was wearing minimal make-up. Although she looked to be in her early thirties, Baxter suspected that she was younger”
I am addicted to both ITV’s Poirot and the BBC’s Death in Paradise and have seen the respective episodes featuring Josette Simon half a dozen times each at least. As soon as I read the description of Curtis in Hangman, she is who I imagined in the role.
Special Agent Damien Rouche:
“…the distracted man smiled politely, gave her a fleeting fist bump and helped himself to a seat without saying a word. She placed him in his very late thirties. He was clean-shaven with pasty skin and salt-and-pepper hair styled into a slightly overgrown quiff at the front…He wore a white shirt with the top two buttons undone and a navy suit that looked tired but well fitted…Rouche rummaged around in his coat pocket. Curtis waited for him to produce something useful but instead he removed a familysized packet of Jelly Babies and ripped it open. On noticing her angry expression, he offered her one…Baxter was surprised to find that the CIA agent spoke with an impeccable English accent”
You don’t get that many impeccably English, thirty-odd year olds with salt and pepper quiffs meaning the field here was pretty limited. Given the added descriptions of ‘distracted’ and ‘pasty’, I imagined Rouche to be a slightly-less-attractive-than-he-is-in-real-life version of salt-and-pepper-quiffed TV presenter George Lamb:
Andrea Hall, journalist, Wolf’s ex-wife and all-round selfish and snooty cow:
“Baxter looked up angrily to find an unfriendly face staring back at her. Despite the early hour, the woman was immaculately made-up for television; any trace of the exhaustion that had marked everybody else with heavy bags beneath their eyes had been concealed. She had long curly red hair and was wearing a smart skirt and top. The two women stood in tense silence for a moment”
‘Long curly red hair’ and ‘immaculately made-up’ plus a character who speaks her mind and has the ability to piss people off with a blatant disregard for their feelings led me, somehow, to outspoken American comedian, Kathy Griffin:
Thank you for reading Putting a Face to the Name! Please feel free to share your own impressions and opinions below.