Thursday, 25 February 2016
Stuart Pawson R.I.P.
My friend and fellow crime writer Stuart Pawson has died, and in sharing this very sad news, I want to pay tribute to one of life's nice guys, a quiet, kind man who also happened to be a terrific writer. If you haven't read his novels, I can most definitely recommend them.
I got to know Stuart shortly after his first book was published by Headline. We met through the Northern Chapter of the CWA - where I've met so many lovely people over the years - and he proved a great companion, always aided and abetted by his devoted wife Doreen. When Margaret Murphy formed the Murder Squad collective of writers in 2000, Stuart and I were founder members, and we took part in a wide range of enjoyable events together. I have an especially vivid memory of Stuart reading, in his deadpan way, a very funny and quite raunchy scene to the (seemingly) staid ladies of Knutsford,and receiving a rapturous response.
He was a very witty guy, and because he was also very retiring, his humour packed even more of a punch. He, Doreen and I spent about a week together at a memorable Bouchercon in Las Vegas - was it really thirteen years ago? - and travelled around in the area - a drive through the desert to the Hoover Dam sticks in my mind as a really fun day out. This is a photo Doreen took of the pair of us on the journey, and it brings back happy memories...
Stuart's dry wit and his love of Yorkshire make his books about Charlie Priest - there are thirteen of them - not only entertaining but also distinctive. Once in a while I talked him into writing short stories, and they too are highly enjoyable. One sad day came, though, when Stuart phoned me and broke the news that Parkinson's had been diagnosed. At that point, he didn't want it to become public knowledge,and he did keep writing for a while, as well as travelling the world with Doreen on one cruise after another.
Eventually, however, the time came when writing was no longer his priority. He resigned from Murder Squad, although he continued to attend CWA lunches at Boroughbridge every now and then. I last saw him there, and he was very frail, but the trademark humour was exactly as it had always been,
I'll miss Stuart a lot. For me, as I say, there are many personal memories to cherish. For all of us, he leaves a legacy of accomplished crime writing that will be appreciated for many years to come.