An Interview with John Graham prior to his journey to Cornwall and Deadly Thyme

Interviewer (Michelle Smith-Greene) – I’m having a recorded conversation while taking notes as to his expression with Jon (no ‘H’) Graham, born in Bristol, he says, and now living in London. So Jon, tell me about yourself.

Jon – This is great. But why me?

M – We want to put a face to the job of policing, add a human element. So, tell me.

Jon – What is there to tell? What you see is what you get.

M – What do I see? My radio listeners want to know.

Jon – That’s easy. A thirty-two year old man with a nose that overtakes the rest of his face. He has good enough eyes (oh! – green). He has unruly brown hair, a day’s growth of beard -not his fault – forgot his shaver- and a propensity to slouch when thinking about something. Yes, and he has a true fear of failure in anything he attempts.

M – That’s interesting. First of all, I would not have said that your nose was large. And your hair has a wave to it with some blond streaks. Did you add those?

Jon – Not blond, I’m afraid, more like gray. Job stress, that’s why I took up surfing.

M – One doesn’t normally think of England as being a surfing hot-spot.

Jon – That’s where you’d be wrong. There are good waves if there’s any breeze at all.

M- It’s cold isn’t it?

Jon – Freezing. I have a wet suit.

M – How often do you surf?

Jon – I surf on my days off, two days a week. Year-round. If I catch three good waves, I’m happy. Besides, any more than that and I couldn’t feel my feet.

M – where did you learn to surf?

Jon – On holiday in Cornwall with my girlfriend. She was good at it. Much better than I’ll ever be. I’m a bit clumsy.

M – Was?

Jon – Excuse me?

M – You said your girlfriend was good at it?

Jon – That’s all due to the fact my girlfriend is presently past tense.

M – Ur . . . About your job.

Jon – Detective Sergeant with the London Met.

M – Sounds impressive. (Psst, to my listeners. This man is a total knock-out. I’m overwhelmed.) What is it you do exactly?

Jon – I work in the internal fraud division. We investigate crimes within the police department, those which are of a serious nature.

M – What does ‘of a serious nature’ mean?

Jon – Smuggling, drugs, you name it.

M – Murder?

Jon – Not since I’ve been in the department.

M – I’ve heard that your department is not the most well-liked department among other police.

Jon – They think we’re out to get them.

M – Are you?

Jon – Not unless they are doing something they shouldn’t.

M – You mention fear of failure. What does fear of failure mean to you?

Jon (shrugs) – I don’t like to be wrong.

M – Explain with an example.

Jon – I like to see a project through both at home or at work. I like it to be right, tied up, no loose ends. You get the picture?

M – You’re a perfectionist?

Jon – I’m too much of a slob. But yeah, maybe at the office. My desk is neat. But at home, nothing neat there. And it’s more . . . it’s just I hate to lose.

M – Competitive?

Jon – I am striving for a personal best at everything.

M – Sports?

Jon – Rock climbing. Surfing is a sport.

M – Be serious. (he gives me a searching look, lovely eyes.)

Jon – I am being serious. Hey! What are you saying, Michelle? Okay, I do like cricket but I’m no good at it. I love football. I used to play in a policeman’s league.

M – Why ‘used to?’

Jon – I joined Fraud and suddenly my “mates” were out to kill me. Besides, I discovered rock climbing, and surfing. Once you’ve surfed, there’s nothing else. I’ve even been tempted to chuck the job and pursue surfing full-time.

M – And why haven’t you?

Jon – The money, of course. It’s not just me I worry about.

M – Married? Children?

Jon – No and no. I help my mother out. My sister and I share care of her. But she also has Mrs. Fleet.

M  – Your mother? Is she old? Who is Mrs. Fleet?

Jon – She’s part of the family. A carer. My mother is a young fifty-five. But she’s in a wheelchair, car accident. A bad one. My father died. She’s very energetic and she paints. Acrylics. Her paintings are beginning to sell at a gallery close to her home.

M – I’m sorry. That’s so tragic.  Do you live with your mother?

Jon – No. But we aren’t far from each other. She actually lives with my sister when she’s in town.

M – Where do you live? Nice home?

Jon – On a policeman’s salary? Joking, right? My flat. It’s okay, very small. My bedroom is my living room is my kitchen, more of a bedsit really. A horrible mess at the moment. Hey – you’re taking notes? Don’t let me mum see.

M – So you see your mother when you aren’t working or surfing.

Jon – Three times a week, when I’m in London.

M – Your job is flexible then?

Jon  – No. The hours I put in are more regular hours. I used to be in Murders. My hours were never regular then. Never knew how much I’d be working on any given day. I think of the difference as what an emergency room doctor’s job is as compared to a dermatologist’s job. I’m the dermatologist of policemen.

M – What kind of crimes are you handling at the present time?

Jon – There’s a case come up in Cornwall. I’m going down there – today actually.

M – For how long?

Jon – Just a few days.

M – Then you already know what your errant police officer has done?

Jon – this is off the record right?

M – Yes.

Jon – It isn’t completely clear, that’s why I’m going down there. To wrap up the on-going investigation. Say, you won’t be putting this out yet, right? I mean, you’ll be holding it until I come back, right?

M – I said I would. But it does sound rather juicy. I could stand the ratings boost.

Jon – Would you like to go out sometime?

M – After the interview, lunch?

Jon – Sure. When I get back from Cornwall? Casual. We could discuss when you’ll air this then.

M – I’m up for a deeper discussion, yes.

Jon – Mmmm?

M – You’re a bit of a scoundrel. (Folks, he has such a smile, it would melt rocks.)

Jon – Putting a face to policing then?

M – the photos you’ve given me so far have done nothing for you.

Jon – How’s this one then? It’s me and my sister. She’s the good-looking one.

Happy joyful couple taking pictures with digital camera isolated on white background

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