Some wonderful skyscapes have been recently circulated on Twitter – and enjoyable comments, too, about the sky and the weather, such as: ‘Sky the colour of boredom.’ (@CathStaincliffe) Those of us who live in the British Isles, quite understandably, talk, think, eat, sleep and dream weather; it’s part of our psyche. Hardly surprising, then, that writers should use weather to reflect human feelings or to create mood or to set a scene. Ruskin coined the term ‘pathetic fallacy’ for the way human feelings falsely find themselves attributed to non-human things, personifying them, in effect. There is the poet in us who makes a connection between feelings and (especially) weather – and the hard scientific or meteorological reality can go hang. A sky can threaten rain, of course, but a threatening sky can become a powerful symbol of human danger: Banquo: ‘It will be rain tonight.’ 1st Murderer: ‘Let it come down.’ The Brontës were not unacquainted with the technique (Well, they lived in Haworth, after all!) and you don’t have to go far into crime fiction to come across it. We love it and exploit it and it would be a dismally humdrum realist who would take issue with its authenticity!
@EMAldred has kindly allowed me to use a Nottingham skyscape to illustrate this post. I hope, too, that visitors here will contribute their favourite crime fiction weather moments as illustrations.