Monthly Archives: February 2022

Hogarthian Grotesques

Abandoning a friend in a pub, Tony Hancock says, ‘Very well, I shall leave you in the company of these Hogarthian grotesques.’ And everybody knew what he meant. William Hogarth had been the moral chronicler of his times, those being the first half of the eighteenth century, but his power still resonated in the twentieth. […]

A Roofworld Of Possibilities

Your first novel sticks to you forever. I’ll go to my grave being described as ‘The author of ‘Roofworld’. In fact, it was the fourth book I wrote, but the first that came with expectations and a decent publicity budget. I had the idea for it after thieves broke into my Soho office by running […]

A Little Reality

The lineup for the Oscars and Bafta is not especially interesting, with the choices falling between the toxic masculinity of Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Power of the Dog’ and the polished sentiment of ‘Belfast’. One problem seems to be a crisis of identity; the Oscars ceremony seems quaintly old-fashioned on TV when its natural home […]

What I’ve Been Doing

Iceberg Ahead A couple of weeks back I slipped over to Barcelona to pay bills, do repairs and clear up our flat after the upstairs neighbours had 1. flooded it for the third time and 2. projectile-vomited from their balcony onto ours, which really takes some doing. And this is in a good part of […]

More On The New Bryant & May

The pitch was this: ‘Instead of a traditional Bryant & May novel, what if I used my knowledge of London to have the detectives talk about the city’s history, along with their guests, Janice, Colin, Meera, Maggie Armitage and a host of others?’ I thought there would be resistance to the idea and approached the […]

Bryant & May Are Back In July

How are they back? I hear you ask. Has he cheated us? No, I haven’t. For 20 books, London has been a central character in the Bryant & May series, so I decided that the detectives’ next investigation should be of London itself. And that this investigation has been going on – in a sort […]

My Mind’s A Blank Page

So, the tingle. It doesn’t happen very often – less and less these days, if I’m honest, but occasionally I still get the tingle, a prickling of the senses that comes from reading, hearing or seeing something entirely unexpected. It happened when I read ‘Less’ by Andrew Sean Greer and again with Edward St Auban’s […]

Bryant & May’s Supernatural Origins

When I started writing seriously in the late 1970s, thrillers about the supernatural were riding a huge wave of popularity. Stephen King’s slim volume, ‘Carrie’ (which showed he was a brilliant conceptualist and could write succinctly, if not elegantly) was a wonderful idea improved by the fortuitous arrival of director Brian de Palma, whose screen […]

Bryant & May: Being Funny Kills Me

There’s a famous anecdote involving the playwright Joe Orton. During the run of ‘Loot’, a farce in the course of which the corpse of the hero’s mother loses her false teeth, Orton handed a new set of dentures to the lead actor, explaining that they belonged to his own dead mother. The actor was horrified, […]