The Day The Earth Caught Fire…Is Now

Phew, what a scorcher! The second hottest day in history may become the hottest tonight as the temperature is still rising at currently just over 38C – no, I have no idea what that is in Fahrenheit, a system still clung to by papers like the Mail and Express. I’m not there, mercifully, as it’s […]

Bryant & May: In For The Long Run Part 2

In any crime series consistency is as important as originality. You’re not pulling off the trick once but again and again, without repeating yourself or deviating too far from the elements that attracted your readership in the first place. But it’s also a race to see whether you or your readers tire first. I don’t […]

Bryant & May: In For The Long Run: Part 1

I first noticed a problem when I went back to check on a character’s name in Book 12 of my Bryant & May novels. The character was using a Blackberry. As far as I know these devices have gone; nothing dates faster than technology. I flicked back through earlier books; a Fax machine turned up […]

London’s Most Surprising Walk

In all of the London guides I’ve read (clue: a few) the same entries crop up time and time again. Some are filled with fun trivia but unsatisfying; ‘Eccentric London’ is peppered with lazy mistakes, while ‘Curiocity’ leaves you wanting longer entries. There seem to be hardly any by women writers – why are travel […]

London Fables 2

Some more gems from Brewer’s London Phrase & Fable… When it goes off and people start ‘avin’ a pop at each other, this is known as ‘the devil among the tailors’. The devil was a spinning top knocking down pins called tailors. It came to mean a fracas because in 1830 a benefit performance of […]

The Kipper: A Brief History

Kipper: A whole herring, a small, smelly, oily fish that has been split from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted or pickled, and smoked over oak woodchips to produce a slimy, emetic meat some people insist on eating for breakfast. Not to be confused with; UKipper: A far-right racist also known for its unpleasant […]

London Fables 1

  One of the most useful compendiums for the London writer is ‘Brewer’s Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable’. Compiled by Russ Willey, it’s not as well known as the other volumes but is well worth diving into, because it’s extremely quirky. Here are my comments on a few entries. ‘I’ll give you my mother […]

New Cover Revealed

‘England’s Finest’ is out in October, and I know this is still a rough and I probably shouldn’t be showing it yet but I’m so excited and love it so much. Once again showing the flagrant disregard for geographical accuracy that has been with us from ‘Strange Tide’ onwards, ‘England’s Finest’ offers a wonky view […]

You Couldn’t Make It Up. But I Might Try.

I’m thinking of writing a new detective series very different from the present one. Let me explain why. Never live in a country that wants to be a world power. The power-hungry nation will focus its attention on everything except its residents. It will involve itself in the wars of those it wants something from, […]

London: What Was Not Lost

  When it comes to talking about old London – the London of pre-war, pre-bombing, pre-developer destruction, we tend to lament what was lost because an astonishing number of buildings were condemned as unsafe and levelled, to the convenience of town planners who couldn’t wait to whack up their Corbusier-influenced concrete social experiments. Nobody knew […]