The Illustrated London News

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It certainly wasn’t ‘Hello’ magazine. ‘Probably no paragraph of the Queen’s speech gave such unalloyed satisfaction to the vast majority of her subjects as that which touched upon her relations with the United States of America.’ This was the news that an agreement to arbitrate in the matter of the Alabama claims had been reached. […]

Celebrating 20 E-Books: ‘Calabash’

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They’ve been remastered and have out into the electronic atmosphere, so to celebrate this massive backlog of 20 e-books finally being made available – a project I began with designer Martin Butterworth over two years ago – I’m going to occasionally publish an excerpt from the range. Here’s a scene from the novel ‘Calabash’ in […]

Script Ends: Goodbye Alan, And Thank You

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It’s pretty clear to me now that without Alan Simpson and his writing partner Ray Galton I would not have started writing. I first found them listed on the back of an LP (that’s cool vinyl, kids – oh, you’re interested now aren’t you?). It was Tony Hancock’s first album, ‘This Is Hancock’ (I should […]

Meet The Neo-Victorians

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In order to research my next novel, I’m having to recall a time I don’t remember. It’s set in September 1969 at the end of flower power and freedom, when Charles Manson was stealing headlines from the first man on the moon. I was at school and out of the loop for the whole Swinging […]

A Letter From Barcelona

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It’s 9 am. I’m on the balcony in my dressing gown, doing my ‘tired face’. Got a cup of tea and a cuerno in my hands. Clear blue sky, empty street, but there’s something in the air. I can hear distant shouting and then – singing. Some children run past at full pelt carrying flags. […]

Today’s Challenge: Share A Writers’ Secret

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    Recently someone challenged me to offer up a writer’s secret, something we don’t even talk about with other. So here’s one. Many of the writers I’ve met are addicted to covetously measuring the success of others. We don’t mean to, but the yardsticks of style, intellect and erudition can prove obsessive. We don’t […]

Arctic Rollercoaster

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  That’s right, this column was simply an excuse to hide the name of a seventies dessert in the heading. You know the drill, a TV show model developed in the US; half a dozen characters meet in a single location (or ‘precinct’) and find out what connects them, but it takes seven seasons to unravel […]

Bryant & May Covers – You Choose

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Do books (and book covers) have to reflect our lives as they’re lived right now? I never really intended my detectives to become topical avatars, but it’s hard not to mirror the times in which we live. In a future book I’ll be looking at the state of the nation, but for 2018’s novel I’ll […]

Reading Between The Lines Part 2

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I like Victoria Beckham. She knows how to play the journos’ game and seems pretty good at weathering its random cruelties, especially when the press periodically decides to gang up on her for no other reason than her being a successful career woman and mother. Ms Beckham grew up with social media and knows what […]

Reading Between The Lines Part 1

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This comes in answer to a request from Elisabeth Rose, to give tips on spotting fake journalism. In the UK we downgraded the quality of journalism in the late ’80s by allowing Rupert Murdoch to trample over reporters’ rights. Traditionally stories are fully sourced within the first two paragraphs. That is, at least two names are […]