I admit, here and now, I’m addicted to watching Poirot. It’s no longer wondering who the murderer is–I’ve seen the episodes far too many times and read a fair few of the novels–now it’s the look that pulls me in.
Sidney Lumet, who directed the 1974 version of Murder on the Orient Express said of making the film, the object was:
“…to thrust the audience into a world it never knew – to create a feeling of how glamorous things used to be.”
There are stately home and the sense of wealth belonging to practically all of the characters as Poirot often moves in rarified circles, but what seems to stand out the most for me in David Suchet’s Poirot is the flawless women, with their often impossibly red lipstick. And the feeling that no one could truly look like that…
So it was another Saturday afternoon stacked with Poirot on ITV3, and a nightclub scene, all smoke, smooth music, wealth and decadence, with yet more of these flawlessly made-up women, the epitome of glamour.
And I thought… What if this wasn’t real? What if all this glamour was fake?
I’d been playing around with the idea of writing a cyberpunk romance and so…why not create a virtual reality that draws on lush extravagance, of creating a playground of the incredibly wealthy? It would form a stark contrast to the real world. the ‘cold world’ and those who could never afford to play.
My heroine, Vyn, appears as one of the flawless woman in the opening scene of Synthetic Dreams. Impossibly red lipstick included. But it’s all a lie. Vyn is literally scarred by her past and she’s never fitted in. Her image is a clever fabrication, going beyond the ‘glamour’ she creates to give the rich their illusion of beauty. And her attempt to modify who she is, to make herself so rich her scars won’t matter, will rip open her past. She’s creating a lie that’s going to change her world.
Oh, I will also admit that my crime drama obsession doesn’t stop with Poirot. No. There’s Miss Marple, Lewis, Above Suspicion, Whitechapel… I’ll throw Sherlock in too for good measure.
Vynessa Somerton was just a girl when she learned about true evil. An encounter with the tyrannical Corporation scarred her body and exiled her to the crime-ridden S-District. Now an adult, Vyn creates glamours, worn by those who visit a virtual playground to live synthetic dreams. She’s tried to stay unnoticed by the Corporation, but her latest invention has brought their agents to her door.
Paul Cross works for the Corporation, but he’s been plotting their downfall since they took his brother and replaced him with an imposter. Paul has a plan to get his brother back, but he’s going to need Vyn and her invention to carry it out.
Vyn agrees to help Paul, but their alliance shatters the barriers she’s put up to protect herself, tempting her to give in to desire. Just as Vyn starts to trust Paul and believe he wants her, scars and all, the Corporation prepares for its final move. Can Vyn trust Paul completely, or has he been using her all along?
Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.