Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Year’s Best TV Show

In the last few years a handful of TV series have proved to be better than anything Hollywood can hope to produce; ‘Six Feet Under’, ‘The Wire’, ‘The West Wing’, ‘The Newsroom’, ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’, ‘The Bridge’, ‘Trapped’ and of course ‘Breaking Bad’. To that illustrious list should now be added ‘The People […]

A Few Of My Favourite (Deadly) Things

‘So, I guess you think a lot about killing people,’ said the customs officer as he went through my bag yesterday. I’d told him I was a writer because I was trying to explain why I had four copies of the same book in my bag. And I suppose I do think about murder rather […]

Invisible Ink 3: Eric Ambler & Neville Shute

While neither of these classic authors is truly forgotten – in the UK at least – their words have faded to a faintness only discerned by loyal fans, and most modern readers would be hard-pressed to recall them. Reprints are available and second-hand copies lie in Oxfam shops, but both have been caught out by […]

Oh God, I’ve Just Found My Unpublished Novels

You all know the story about the Beatles and Hamburg, about how awful they sounded before they left and how professional they were when they returned after playing hundreds of gigs. The same applies to writers. Good first novels never materialise out of nowhere. They’re reached after many many hours, days, months, years of writing. […]

The Most English Thing In England

Every week in ‘The Avengers’, the old TV series, not the Marvel Comics lycra-fest, John Steed and Cathy Gale/Emma Peel/ Tara King (not sure I count Purdy though I’m willing to hear a persuasive argument) solved a bizarre plot. The situations involved losing an hour, losing the population of a village, losing a graveyard, losing […]

The Old Codgers Are Lurking In London Now

Between now and the official party for ‘Bryant & May: Strange Tide’ I’ll be doing what I usually do – hiding signed copies of the hardback in London’s open spaces. Two dozen signed copies will be left between Piccadilly and the Euston Road over the next few days, partly because it’s great to watch who […]

How London’s Architecture Found A Future

After WWII, London took a strange turn. Sick of the past, of rubble and dirt and old, it launched an offensive on the future. Unlike other cities such that had sustained massive bomb damage, such as Gdansk, which restored itself down to the last brick, London opted for as-yet untried modernism. The NHS began, modern […]

Invisible Ink 2: Margery Allingham

Margery Allingham   I thought carefully about including Margery Allingham in my list of forgotten authors, so let’s address the problem right at the start. She’s hardly ever out of print, and many readers know her name even if they haven’t read her. However, very few of them have really got to grips with her […]

Bring It Back: Souvenirs We Love

The origin of the word ‘souvenir’ is late 18th century, French, from souvenir ‘remember’, from Latin subvenire ‘occur to the mind’, but it has come to mean a keyring made in China. If you have the misfortune to walk around Leicester Square, once a perfectly pleasant and fairly unremarkable set of roads featuring cinemas and theatres, […]