The Grey City Gets Greener

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Despite the fact that our former mayor lost interest in tackling London’s frequently horrible arterial pollution, the capital remains the greenest city in what is already an astoundingly verdant country. It’s something you tend to forget until you come home from – well, almost anywhere else. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve chosen to […]

London’s A Liar

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Regular readers will be aware of the respect I have for The Londonist, one of the capital’s most quirky (and relentlessly perky) sites, and one which will direct you deeper into the world of obscure specialist London websites, a wormhole from which you may never escape. But  it’s been bothering me for a while that those […]

The Voice I’ve Never Heard

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I know his name, I know his voice, but I’ve not listened to him. Tim Goodman is the other ‘me’. He’s the audio narrator of the Bryant & May novels. His dulcet tones recently won him another top industry award for audiobook reading when he claimed his third Audiofile Earfones award for Outstanding Narration. Everyone says […]

Banning ‘Experience’: Words That Annoy

I’ve finally become my parents; they were sticklers for grammatical exactitude. I knew it would happen, but I think it’s largely because I read so much. Books, posters – this poster. As noted in the previous post, there’s a Sherlock Holmes ‘experience’ currently at Madame Tussauds. It’s a word routinely added to any activity which […]

We’re All Going On A…

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…or are we? Going Where The Sun Shines Brightly?* Londoners traditionally holiday abroad, as they don’t care to wander around Bexhill-On-Sea going ‘I can’t believe they still don’t have olive focaccia’, although a few do tiptoe off into the countryside where locals make fun of them and hotels rip them off by charging for two-night […]

Rough On The Street

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I’ve written about street problems and rough sleeping a few times, most notably in ‘Disturbia’, in ‘Plastic’ and now in the next Bryant & May novel. The statistics are alarming and show just how close people in debt are to rough sleeping. A lost job, a missed payment and you can be out. Once you’re […]

Crime Can Be Anything You Want…

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Here are some jottings I found on writing crime fiction. I have a sneaking feeling some of these points came from a US TV writer, but I can’t for the life of me remember who – if it was you and I’ve not namechecked you, I’m sorry, tell me and I’ll correct it. Crime is […]

Ars Gratia Artis

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An excellent BBC4 programme last night, ‘The Banker’s Guide To Art’, about the rules that govern the buying and selling of modern art, proved essential viewing for anyone researching a crime novel. Here is the one multi-billion-pound industry that is not governed by financial rules. It owes this unique place to history, when the titled […]

Sod It, Let’s Dance!

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For a writer’s blog, this is an awfully random site, I know. But I’m not just interested in invisible authors, I admire the also-runs and all the people who get passed over in favour of stars. Tommy Rall was one of them – he was Astaire and Kelly combined, but something didn’t click and he […]

Invisible Ink: Horace McCoy

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One of Malcolm Gladwell’s rules states that the key to success in any field is partly a matter of practicing a specific task for around 10,000 hours. This seems especially true of writers; it usually takes a great deal of experience to become a debut novelist. Horace McCoy clocked up a lot of experience before […]