Monthly Archives: November 2017

Why Authors Are Forgotten: Part 1

Over the next six days I’m doing something different here; I’m going to publish a version of the talk I gave around the country on the subject of authors we have loved and misplaced. I started from a template and tended to spring off in different directions for each talk, depending on the mood of […]

Havana Laugh

Don’t worry – the shot above is not mine; I can’t access my photo cache (or much else) from here. It’s stormy in Havana. There’s a restless buzz in the air; dogs are fighting, the rains have brought torrential waterfalls from gutters and flooding in the streets but the bands, sheltering in the corners of […]

The Eleven Minute Rule

I’ve been looking for patterns in reader satisfaction. Working on the Forgotten Authors project for so long has given me a sense of what proves popular, and it seems to me that readers are both open to originality and experimentation, and a good, simple idea well executed. What I think readers don’t like is over-complexity […]

When Is A Bookshop Not A Bookshop?

…When it’s my home. And only one of many bookcases, I’m afraid. It’s a minor compulsion and nearly under control; I can deal with it. The habit starts young. My mother had a cavalier disregard for books; she’d plough through them, bending corners, filling them with crumbs, dropping them  in the bath, using a fag-end […]

Friday Song!

Before I lose contact with the online world for God knows how many hours I should at least post a Friday Song (which may well end up being a Saturday Song). A aptly political one today, given the prevalence of fake news. Here’s the old method that reigned before blatantly making stuff up; obfuscation. Charles Durning […]


It’s been a hectic year. First, thanks to all the well-wishers who contacted me about my eye surgery. I’m OK, although I may not be illuminating any medieval manuscripts for a while. The timing was fortuitous, as I’m between books and need to recharge the batteries, ready to take a run at three new novels, […]

London’s Best Shops: Fopp

In this series I’m not including any of the shops that usually go into glossy travel magazines, the ones which are meant to typify London, because they don’t. Lobb’s and Lock’s and Berry & Rudd and Smith & Co are beautiful and evocative time warps, but I’ve never met anyone who has shopped in them […]

If You Remember The Sixties, You Weren’t There

  So here’s the final cover artwork for the upcoming sixties-set Bryant & May mystery, entitled ‘Hall of Mirrors’, to be published on March 22 2018. The US is running a little behind UK, but I’m pleased to say that they’ll now sport similar covers. Hopefully we’ll get a full set of matching covers one day; […]

Weirdly Forgotten: The Eventful Life Of Algernon Blackwood

In the league table of lately obscure British writers, the name of Algernon Blackwood ranks pretty highly. When you try to remember him, images from a handful of strange short stories might come to mind, and such memories may only have stayed with you at a subconscious level because his tales were collected in the […]

Outsiders & Eccentrics: London On Film

After finishing ‘Film Freak’ I realised that the book was more or less a requiem for popular British film, and that the only future for a national cinema seemed to lay in arthouse independents or films selling ‘Englishness’ to overseas audiences. Since then, all that has come to pass, with even the delightful ‘Paddington’ films […]