Reading & Writing

Trubble With Wordz


With so many other more pressing things to worry about in the world, shouldn’t we not be more flexible about our language? After all, it wasn’t so very long ago that people had alternative spellings of their own names. It’s not written in stone, is it? Well it is, kind of, in the 42 volume […]

Does Geography Affect Creativity?

London storms

Readers have noticed that there’s an awful lot of rain in my mystery novels. That’s because they’re set in London, which – although drier now than ever before – is still a city of dark skies. I’m noticing a distinct correlation between my output and the weather, and not in the way you’d expect. Working […]

Bryant & May Move Into Twisted Territory

B&M Audio

I’ve now delivered two new Bryant & May books; the first is for the Christmas season, and is entitled ‘Bryant & May: London’s Glory’. It will be out on November the 5th, and will be a collection of eleven missing cases, along with various oddities, background history, an essay on Golden Age detectives and the […]

More Bad Writing


If you hired a carpenter and he built you some shelves that subsequently collapsed when you stood books on them, you’d call him a bad carpenter. So in yesterday’s article about bad writers I was interested by a number of comments (some of which I didn’t publish because they were from online trolls) which argued […]

Is This The World’s Best Bad Writer?


It’s an excitingly rich field that started with William McGonagall and has reached its ne plus ultra with the wonderful, appalling ‘Sherry Silver’. Her prose is so staggeringly inept that I’ve sort of fallen in love with her, as I did with Jacqueline Suzanne and Dan Brown. Ms Silver sounds like a perfectly nice, normal kind […]

Harrogate & The Gender Balance


Every year Harrogate hosts Britain’s biggest gathering of crime writers and their readers at the Old Swan Hotel, and the four-day event, called the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, is usually a sell-out. People in Yorkshire are avid readers (and drinkers of the eponymous beer) but there are also visitors from all over the […]

Eight Great Forgotten Anthologies


Anthologies are not collections. The former are compilations from a variety of authors under the aegis of an editor who makes the selections, and the latter stem from a single writer. Anthologies were once hugely popular in the UK and provided an inexpensive way of discovering new writers; a task now performed by e-readers. Consequently […]

Oh Miss Porter! The Author Nobody’s Ever Heard Of


To my knowledge, at least, no-one has ever read her except me – somebody prove me wrong! What sort of writer numbers their books One, Two and Three instead of coming up with proper titles? And who would deliberately go against all the traditional tropes of the mystery genre? I have to admit I’d never […]

The Story Behind The Sand Men


If you care to cast your orbs to the far right of this page, to the bit no-one ever looks at (I assume) you’ll find the first chapter of my next novel posted (hopefully) for your delectation. Those who care for the futurologist Mr JG Ballard may especially enjoy the book, but actually but it’s […]

How To Start A Story 1: Don’t Mention The Weather


It’s usually a bad sign when a novel opens with a description of the weather. With so many ways available of capturing the reader’s attention, why start with one we can all see? The exception is the famous opening of ‘Bleak House’ (which I parodied in the opening of ‘The Burning Man’), because Dickens manages […]