(Number 2 in a series about writing the Max Hurlock Roaring 20s Mysteries)
Once I decided on a detective, I started to think of a sidekick, a Dr. Watson sort of character, but much different. That left either a friend, coleage, relative, or love interest.
Because my own wife acts as my partner in investigating and researching, a wife seemed a natural for the Dr Watson role. She would have to be compatible, but also have a contrasting personality to add interest, conflict, and another point of view. She would have to be beautiful and smart as well. My wife suggested calling this paragon of female virtue Allison, after the character in the old novel Peyton Place. Unlike the detective, who would be a methodical, technical minded type and something of a country boy, Allison would be an aspiring writer from the more urban Western Shore of Maryland, and a Goucher graduate. Since the 20s were an era of empowerment for women, Allison would not be content to merely follow the detective around, she would be a free-lance writer of magazine articles. This would also give her the chance to develop on her own, and to turn up clues to help out her husband. She would also come in handy for the more delicate questioning of female suspects and for prying information out of some of the more reluctant men. So Allison Hurlock was born.
Returning to the detective, he would be an engineering graduate and an ex WWI naval officer. He got his start by solving a murder on his ship, and his reputation grew from there. To give him a little more color, he would run a part-time flying service with a war surplus Curtiss Jenny biplane, something a number of veterans did at the time.
Now the Hurlocks were almost ready, but there was still the problem of what should the detective’s first name be? Nothing seemed to sound right, so my wife and I started reading street signs as we drove along the St Michael’s Road. Suddenly we saw it: Macks Lane, and Max Hurlock was born. (Google it yourself-Macks Lane, St Michaels, Maryland)
So now Max “Sherlock” Hurlock and wife Allison Hurlock were ready to send out into the world. Now what? Stay tuned.