Monthly Archives: July 2013

Anthology Heaven

With the arrival of ‘singles’, short stories individually bought online, it’s tempting to create your own perfect anthology of short stories, an individual ‘Best Of’ tailored to your tastes. I touched on this subject in recent posts, then realised just how many themed anthologies I own from the 1970s. On my shelves there are collections of […]

Movie Expressions Of Joy 2

Apologies for the less than rigorous editing this week, as it’s a miracle I get wi-fi at all in these hills, and I have to jump in when I can. The film ‘Hellzapoppin’ was based on a madcap Broadway play and translated brilliantly to film, becoming one of the most anarchic movies ever made. I […]

Original Sins and Deadly Pleasures

It’s not as widely known as it should be, but the Crime Writers’ Association produces its own anthologies under the auspices of editor Martin Edwards, the author of the excellent ‘Lake District’ mysteries. A couple of years ago he asked me if I would write a Bryant & May short story for the anthology ‘Original […]

On Being Sold Less For More 2

An addendum to the article below – here’s the view of the first Premier Inn ‘coffin with a view’ hotel, that dead-looking brown lump at the centre, and bear in mind this is the tidied up CAD version with a fake blue sky and nice clean streets. And here’s a possible site for another ‘tiny […]

Not Safe For Beach Reading

I have the eerie power to be able to divine what you’re going to read on the beach this year. It’s ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’. Admit it, you’ve been swayed. That silly Harry Potter stuff wasn’t for you, although it did at least make boys ask Santa for wands at Christmas, but crime, well, she’s obviously […]

London’s Oldest Shops

Ah, London, home of pipes and umbrellas and fogs. Well, that’s not strictly true anymore. London’s a multicultural city that would be unrecognisable to Conan Doyle now, except for tiny remaining pockets, one being G Smith & Sons, purveyors of all things tobacco since 1869. It still sells snuff, and since the sad demise of […]

Best Two Guy-Words In The World: Turkish Shave!

My pal Roger called me first thing this morning to find out how last night’s launch of ‘Plastic’ at Foyles in London’s Charing Cross Road went – I explained that thanks to excellent MC Joanne Harris, Solaris honcho Jonathan Oliver and Foyles events manager Andy Quinn we had a full house, a lovely audience and […]

What It Takes To Fall In Love With Books Again

What it takes is a bout of austerity, apparently. Since the economic downturn in Spain, the ailing library system has suddenly experienced a reversal of fortune. Libraries that were doomed to closure have reopened, and are booming. In Andalusia there has been a 50.6 per cent rise in library borrowers since Spain’s economic troubles began in […]

London’s Bead Mystery

Looking further into posts about English magic, I find that London has been particularly susceptible to magical lore. Certainly when I was a child, our family still clung to all kinds of superstitions. Ginger cats were apparently lucky. Being from a Thameside family my father would not allow shoes on the bed because it meant […]

What’s In A Name?

When I found it impossible to sell ‘Plastic’ to a publisher the first time around, my agent, who had been happy with the book, wanted to examine the reasons why. Of the fifteen reader responses we had from publishing houses, the majority said they loved it but it ‘didn’t fit their author profile’. Now, this […]