Agatha Christie

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 […]

Story Tricks: No. 1 – Planting Plums

This is a new occasional series for both readers and budding writers, about some of the tricks that can be used to improve stories. This one’s a classic. Oddly enough, it’s use has been made much easier since the advent of computers, because you can go back and revise manuscripts accordingly. It involves the planting […]

What Are Authors Meant To Look Like?

I once did a gig at Chiswick Library. It was raining hard, and the librarians had very sweetly pinned my picture onto a blackboard, surrounding it with Christmas tinsel. Just before I went on, two old dears stood up and made their way over to the photograph, which showed me sitting on a London pavement […]