Monthly Archives: June 2019

Finding The Rhythm Of Words

Words can fall so perfectly on notes that you can’t tell which came first. Whenever I’m stuck on a chapter, particularly one that demands an amusing situation, I read about other writers discussing their craft, from Noel Coward or the Simpsons/Seinfeld writers to stand-ups. Recently I returned to the older end of British comedy writing. A […]

Bryant & May: New Readers Start Here

I was recently asked to summarise the Bryant & May novels in a page. This is a great exercise for authors, and allows you to develop a little perspective. Here’s what I came up with. There’s an image that always springs to mind when I start a new Bryant & May book; London office workers […]

No More Leisure Left

How much spare time do you have? Can I have some of it? Time is clearly the key commodity of the new century. We’re working shorter hours (in theory, although unpaid overtime is currently being addressed by European governments), we have more spending power (well, the US, much of Europe and 1% of the UK […]

5 Of The Best Britcoms

Not sure why this subject came up; a discussion about writers producing continuous original work perhaps, and a love of cataloguing… A flawed, difficult young woman deals with her London family and romance. ‘Fleabag’ was a game-changer (although it eventually suffered from over-hype) with writer-star Phoebe Waller-Cates breaking the fourth wall and – in a […]

Stranger In The South

My former agent lived in a small town called Gaucin in Southern Spain, and from her window you could see the coast, the rock of Gibraltar and beyond to Africa (she’s in my short story ‘The Caterpillar Flag’). I’ve arrived in the ‘island’ town of Cadiz, a place I’ve visited a couple of times before […]

Bryant & May: Dream Casting

For a while now I’ve felt that one day, long, long after I am such stuff as dreams are made on, they might make a Bryant & May TV series (funnily enough it’s back on the cards at the moment but don’t hold your breath), so I should have some dream-casting up my sleeve. Oh […]

A London Question

I should know better than to ask you lot a London question because before I know it we’ll be knee-deep in trepanning and taxidermy, but it’s hot, estoy muy cansado and need to push on with all possible despatch, so a short blog today as I’m taking a few days off. Ah, but where to, […]

Who Killed The Classic Murder Mystery? Verdict

The story so far: Critic Edmund Wilson damned the classic mystery writers, but it turned out that his verdict was biased against the British proponents. Discussion ensued here and in one mighty bound, courtesy of Snowy in the Comments of yesterday’s article, we went from bookbinding to foot fetishism, thus beautifully proving the point about […]

Who Killed The Classic Murder Mystery? Pt 2

Edmund Wilson had upset the apple cart with his comments on the perceived illiteracy of the mystery writers, but he wasn’t done yet. He followed his accusing article with another one after receiving outraged mail. This time he cast his net wider, but what he found gave him even greater cause for alarm. Published under […]

Who Killed The Classic Murder Mystery? Pt 1

In 1945 the clear-eyed and cynical Freudian/Marxist Edmund Wilson published an article in The New Yorker magazine entitled ‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ in which he excoriated murder mysteries for their poor literary qualities. It was not the first time he had done so; in October 1944 he had attacked them and started a […]