Agatha Christie

There Really Was A Golden Age Of Murder


As some of you know, I write a weekly column for the Independent on Sunday called ‘Invisible Ink’, about once massively popular authors who have now become a minority taste or who have vanished altogether. I thought carefully about including Margery Allingham in the column. She’s hardly ever out of print, and readers certainly know her […]

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 […]

Au Reservoir, Lucia


The press said ‘Geraldine McEwan, known for playing Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, has died at Charing Cross Hospital, aged 82’. There’s mention of the awards she won for the TV production of ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’, Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’ and Congreve’s ‘The Way Of The World’. But to me her most inhabited role […]

Can Quantity Still Have Quality?


Someone I hadn’t caught up with for a while said to me, ‘So, you’re still churning out those Bryant & May books are you?’ I pointed out that yes, mystery novels were one type of book I write, although there were many others. He said; ‘Then why do you bother with the crime stuff? They’re […]

Visit London, But Avoid This Trap

Mousetrap play at 60

The play is set in a fantasy world of mock-tudor wood-paneling, an England that I’ve never seen. Each of the eight actors in it have to sign up for a minimum of 47 weeks. One says that during quiet performances you can hear the play creak. That’s hardly surprising; ‘The Mousetrap’ opened in the West End […]

Criminal Consequences As Specsavers Readers Choose The Plot


The game of Consequences – finishing something started by someone else – has long been popular among crime writers. Charles Dickens had, in a way, inspired the idea in another form with books like ‘Mugby Junction’ and ‘The Haunted House’. In these he started off a story and had other writers deliver additional episodes which […]

What Does A Publishing PR Do?


Publishing PRs can be a bit of a punchline; there are plenty of jokes about posh girls called Daisy or Emma looking to fill the time between finishing school and marriage to a trustafarian, but in reality a good PR is worth her weight in diamonds (they’re usually women, although I know a few male […]

Books On Reading & Writing

Lately there have been quite a few books about the process of reading and writing. Certainly the addition of e-reading to formats has helped to develop this debate. How do we perceive the classics now? Why are books that are hard to read still on the curriculum? How can we read and improve our comprehension? […]

Advice From The Duchess of Death

Another republished portmanteau novel by the Detective Club has fallen into my possession after ‘The Floating Admiral’. This one features Dorothy L Sayers and the wonderful Gladys Mitchell, but a particular point of interest has been the essay in the foreword by Agatha Christie, from which I quote here; ‘What kind of people read detective […]

When Authors Work Together

Having been involved in two volumes of ‘Zombie Apocalypse’, in which a worldwide epidemic is given a factual genesis and relayed in the form of emails, notes, recordings and other methods of communication, I know how difficult it is to get right. Funnily enough, the easiest part was fitting my part of the story with […]