Does Brexit Belong In Murder Mysteries?

‘Don’t get too political,’ is a classic writing rule. Readers are also voters of every hue, and you risk offending them. But if you’re going to write a crime novel set in modern-day Britain, you have to at least touch on ordinary life around you to set the story in context. If you overdo it, […]

Late Shift: Why Writers Work At Night

Once we had an image of the Victorian lady author, a person of gentility and slender means, seated at her escritoire quietly at work on a sensation-novel. It was a job opportunity open to those who did not become tutors or lady’s companions, the spinsters’ choice. Well, it turns out things haven’t moved that far […]

Re:View – ‘During The Storm’

Even though I became a Hispanophile a few years back, I always enjoy Spanish language films more than other world cinema because they tell new stories so well in the form of popular dramas, comedies, SF, suspense – in other words, everyday cinema. Rather as Hollywood was in the 1980s, Spanish cinema is unembarrassed about […]

Mr Brown Fried My Brain

He does have his own style, though, and it’s hilarious. There are authors you avoid because you just know you’re not going to get along with them. EL James, the well known erotic typist, is one. Joan Collins fought (and won) in court to prove that her delivered book was not ‘unreadable’, on which she’s […]

Bryant & May – Here We Go Again!

Having finished the editing and proofs on ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’, the decrepit duo’s second volume of missing cases, which fills in the gaps between the investigations tackled in the novels, I’ve now turned to next year’s adventure and I’m already running late. How so? Because this is a unique year, with two new […]

Finding Mr Merrick

An author who has written a biography of Joseph Merrick, the so-called ‘Elephant Man’, has tracked down his final resting place. Jo Vigor-Mungovin consulted cemetery records around the time of Joseph Merrick’s death and found he had been interred at the City of London Cemetery & Crematorium, near Epping Forest. The problem had always been that although […]

Further Up The Stream Of Unconsciousness

A far cry from the world of Wodehouse, perhaps, but written in the same spirit, are Maggie Armitage’s weekly text messages to me. Here are a few from this week. Be thankful you’re getting the short versions. I like to think of her writing in the same vein as EM Delafield’s ‘Diary of a Provincial […]

People Are Strange

Victoria Wood once wrote; ‘You don’t know how strange other people’s families are until you’ve spent Christmas with one.’ If we seem a lot less individual in these homogenous times than, say, the average Dickens character, it doesn’t mean we’re more rational. There was a time – say, in the eighties – when it felt […]

What Is It About Wodehouse?

Time and again I’m drawn back to PG Wodehouse when I feel a little low. In that spirit, this column is an amalgam of previous articles together with new observations on an eternally amusing author. ‘Isn’t it all just upper class stuff?’ asked a friend. ‘Who needs that now?’ No, it’s not, I told him. […]

Avengers Dissembled

(Tortuously spoiler free) Let’s assume for the sake of this article that Avengers: Endgame is terrific entertainment and take it from there, shall we? Normal likes/ dislikes can be resumed after. You either know the stats by now or don’t care. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is over 3 hours long, cost $400,000,000 to make and covered its cost […]