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Character Profile: Lucas Rathbone

Well, these are the Lucas Rathbone Mysteries, so I guess it's only right we start with the man himself, right?

This guy is obviously the star of the show - his name is on the cover, after all - despite being rather shy and retiring, and a little lacking in the charisma department, especially when compared to his flashier co-stars.

Sorry, Lucas.

But the reason his name is on the cover and not Clara Jenkins or Tommy Kilbourne (both of whom you'll meet shortly) is because young Mr Rathbone has a very particular set of skill neither of the other two have.

Lucas can see and speak to spirits.

You may wonder why I haven't said he's psychic or clairevouyant, and there's a very good reason for that: My boy refuses to learn the difference (if there is any) because that'd mean he cares about his "gift", which he most certainly does not.

Uh, yes, actually. In fact, he rather resents it, and the burden he never asked for of helping lost souls get wherever they're supposed to be.

This, however, doesn't mean that he refuses to help (Because he's a bit of a softy, really - don't let his grouchy exterior fool you!). It just means that he doesn't go looking for spirits to help.

Not that this stops him being inundated with ghosts, mostly thanks to the spirit of Mrs Bird, who you'll also meet later.

He helps, albeit unwillingly - but he's not the only one who likes to get involved in a little sleuthing...

His fiancee, Clara Jenkins, generally drags him into trouble - which is a lot of fun for me, but Lucas isn't qute such a fan (or so he says, I reckon he secretly enjoys it and would be bored without at least a little excitement in his life.

Because, bless him, Lucas despite being 24 years old and having a serious yen for getting out into the world, Lucas is still living in the small village he grew up in.

Castlebury Magna is a rural idyll in nowhere, England, and looks a little something like this:

It consists of a small high street, a church, a school, a village hall, a few ameanities like a library and a pub, and a couple of farms on the outskirts. It severely lacks the energy and interest the young man craves.

So, why is he still there? I hear you ask.

Well, the answer to that lies with his mother who, having lost her husband on the front lines of WW1 some fourteen years previously, is still emotionally fragile and relies a lot on her only child.

But, just as with the others, we'll look more closely at Mrs Rathbone another time.

Lucas, having lost his father at such a young age, took on a lot of responsibility on himself and can't stand the thought of hurting his mum by leaving her in that house full of ghosts (metaphorically speaking, but you can never tell with Lucas).

This has resulted in tension in his relationship with Clara, turning down job offers in London, and a lot of conflicted feelings about the life he wants versus the life he's chosen out of a sense of duty.

Not that he resents his mother at all. He's made personal sacrifices for her because he loves her, plain and simple, and though he wants more from his life, if that comes at the price of his mother's well-being, that price is to high.

This comes into direct conflict with his desire to do anything to make Clara happy, however, and there's a good chance that if she hadn't insisted he stay with his mother until Mrs Rathbone could stand her boy moving away, he would have chosen Clara instead.

But, it is what it is, any maybe, just maybe, something will change in the future that'll let all three of them get on with their lives...

People often think Lucas is a grouch - which is true, but he's also incredibly affectionate and puts other people's interests ahead of his own - whether he ought to or not.

Let's see, what else might you want to know about Lucas...

Well, in my head, he looks like this guy:

Which is Gwylim Lee playing Sgt Charlie Nelson in Midsomer Murders.

I mean, Lucas is clean-shaven, but otherwise, dead ringer and if I could wave a magic wand and have my show on TV with all the actors I wanted at exactly the right ages (I'm out of touch with pop culture, so have no idea about anyone who is actually the right age for my lot), it'd be Mr Lee for the lead every time.

But I actually go pretty light on physical descriptions for most of my characters, so there's a good chance I'm the only person who sees Lucas like this.

Lucas works at the local newspaper, The Castlebury Gazette, goes bell ringing at the church on a Wednesday, and at the start of the series, dreams of an entirely more interesting life than the one he's currently leading.

Yeah, he's been regretting that ever since.

Still, at least he still has Clara to brighten his days - and we'll spend some time getting to know her tomorrow, so I'll catch up with you then!

All the best,

Saff xx

P.S. Want to meet Lucas and co properly? Find all the books in the series so far here

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