There's a kind of email of which I get quite a few, but it never makes me feel any less proud.
I received one such last week, and wanted to mention it here.
It's partly, I suppose, because the days are growing ever darker and colder, and it's that combination which can trigger an old and familiar foe.
I'm talking about the swamp, adversary of so many, and often in an unspoken way.
The email was from a chap who had been kind enough to read the tvdetective books. I won't use his name, of course, but he got in touch in particular because he wanted to say how accurate he thought my descriptions of depression felt ...
(Yes, there's a reason for that, but we don't need to go into it here.)
... and, far more upliftingly, to say the books had helped him.
They gave my correspondent a sense of being less alone in what can be a very solitary fight he said, and also that they helped him to know that there are ways to battle the beast of a thing.
For Dan, it's Claire, walking with Rutherford, the wonderful Devon countryside, and the criminal investigations he somehow keeps landing himself amidst.
The treatments are different for everyone. But the important point is that they are there. There is a way.
Althought the swamp can, perhaps, never be entirely beaten - it's too deeply and broodingly buried within - there are ways to ease its burden.
The author of the email was kind enough to say he felt that from my books, and it gave him renewed hope that life could and would get better.
And that, even if it were my sole and humble achievement in these often bumbling years upon this beautiful planet, I would gladly take as making it all worthwhile.