The Crime Readers' Association

Criminal Law In the Blood by Ruth Mancini

31st October 2018

In the Blood was inspired by a real-life case. I was waiting in court one morning when a young woman was brought up from the cells. The charge was murder, the victim her newborn child. I’ve dealt with many cases over the years involving maternal child neglect or physical abuse, but the facts of this one were unusual and it really stayed with me.  As this wasn’t my case or my usual court, that was where my brief involvement was to end. But the spark that ignites a story had been lit.

The transition from lawyer to writer was a natural one in many ways. Lawyers are trained to research a subject thoroughly and use words sparingly to compose persuasive written arguments – skills that apply equally to writing a convincing story. And, as is the case with detectives or forensic profilers, many criminal defence lawyers have a natural interest in people and what makes them tick. That’s certainly true for me.  I started out with the intention of writing women’s fiction, but a rather unpleasant character found his way into my first two books and it quickly became clear that I was heading in a slightly different direction. Given my background, writing a legal drama or crime story seemed the logical next step.

Clearly, I’m writing about a world with which I’m very familiar, and I can’t deny that I’ve drawn heavily on my own experiences in creating my protagonist, Sarah Kellerman. I wanted to create a series of crime stories in which Sarah faces the kinds of real-life challenges that women, in particular, will relate to. Fortunately, we’ve evolved from the days when women in crime were either helpless victims, femme fatales or elderly sleuths and we now have a good range of clever, capable female detectives, lawyers and private eyes – better reflecting real-life professions involving the law. There is a notion, however, that women – both as sleuths and as real-life professionals – should be as hard-hitting as men in order to fight their way successfully through a male-dominated culture. I much prefer the idea of our gender being recognised for its own massive strengths – such as empathy, emotional intelligence, the ability to get people to open up and talk, the ability to spot hidden dangers, to multi-task, etc. – strengths which often go hand in hand with the practicalities of raising a family – and that’s what I’ve tried to portray.


About Ruth Mancini

Ruth is a criminal defence lawyer as well as a writer. She has spent the past twenty years in and out of courts and police stations and still practises, juggling her legal work with writing and raising two children, one of whom is severely learning disabled. In the Blood is her debut crime thriller.

Read more about Ruth here

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