Did you think I was joking about a prehistoric detective novel?
I was serious when I answered that question recently. And I have tried to find out enough about prehistoric times to make the story realistic. I hope you will find some humour in it, but it is not a spoof. Forget the Flintstones.
Is it different from other stories set in prehistoric times?
Yes. Some writers and especially Hollywood film-makers have ignored scientific knowledge and gone in for as much drama, excitement and horror as possible. They created or maintained a lot of myths. Fake news. Well, not exactly NEWS, if it’s thousands of years old, but…
I have tried to stick to what most modern archaeologists and palaeontologists believe. What the stones and bones don’t tell them, they sometimes infer from studies of hunter-gatherers in the present. But I have used creativity to fill in the gaps.
What’s different from those other prehistoric tales?
- There are no dinosaurs. Mammoths yes. There are other large and fierce creatures too: bison, aurochs*, giant elk, several kinds of bear and big cats.
- I avoid the term sabre-tooth tiger because we don’t know what colour or pattern they were.
- I avoid the term Irish Elk, because they lived in other parts of Britain and elsewhere. Besides, Ireland was still attached to the rest of Britain at the time. We were all Unionists then.
- Britain was attached to the Continent. Brexit had to wait.
- People didn’t all live in caves. They built houses too.
- It wasn’t cool to go naked. It was only just after the Ice Age!
- People didn’t always look scruffy. If they could skin a bear or a mammoth, they could cut that skin to fit themselves properly, and they could choose plenty of smooth-haired animals too.
- If they made necklaces of beads, they must have cared about appearance.
A prehistoric novel, yes, but a detective novel?
People have always been capable of murder. At least some people. Remember Cain and Abel? And I believe that there have always been at least some people who cared about truth and justice. You may wonder how anyone could solve a murder mystery without forensics. Read it and find out!