Out of Bounds (Val McDermid) – REVIEW

I knew Ms McDermid’s name, but had never read any of her books until I picked this up in the library. It sometimes takes me some time to get into a new series – a new world, set of characters, and outlook, but this was an exception.

The world of DCI Karen Pirie is just such a new world for me, for a number of reasons.

Continue reading “Out of Bounds (Val McDermid) – REVIEW”

Working with others…

Last year, our local writing group, the Lichfield Writers, decided to create a joint project for the second successive year and and The Lichfield Jigsaw Murders is now available. This book proved to be very interesting, not just in the writing stage, but also in the editing phases of production. I learned quite a lot about editing from this exercise. Continue reading “Working with others…”

The Man who Would be Sherlock – Christopher Sandford – REVIEW

This is in some ways a strange book (click here for the Amazon page). Sandford explains at the beginning of the book that this is not a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, nor is it a minute reexamination of the Edalji and Slater cases – the two criminal cases which Doyle regarded as miscarriages of justice and worked to right wrongs.

However, the book does go into some details of ACD’s life, and also provides a summary of both cases as it concentrates on the almost obsessive side of the man’s life which wished to see “fair play” in all things. Continue reading “The Man who Would be Sherlock – Christopher Sandford – REVIEW”

Life in Japan can be strange at times

I’m reprinting my Tokyo thriller, At the Sharpe End (it’s available as an ebook already). Strangely, my first two books (Beneath Gray Skies is the other) are the last ones that I have republished in print, following the demise of Inknbeans Press.

The book is about technocrime, fintech, and spies and agents insinuating their way into the lives of a very ordinary British expat scratching a living in Tokyo. It’s a little far-fetched in places, but there are some rather interesting predictions and coincidences in there.

However, looking through the text to reprint it, I’m still quite pleased with the adventures of the eponymous hero, Kenneth Sharpe. Tokyo is a strange place to live, and strange things do happen to those who choose to live and work there. I’m not saying that the exact interactions and events that happened to Sharpe also happened to me, but strange and bizarre things have happened in the past.

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One year on

It was just over a year ago (in fact, it was about 1:30am on Christmas morning 2017) that I read an email from a friend informing me that my publisher, editor, and friend, Jo Lowe of Inknbeans Press, had died.

The news was not totally unexpected, but it hit me hard, and Christmas last year was very much a matter of smiling on the outside and grieving on the inside. Since then, I have had to pick up the pieces, not only of my emotional life (for I, like all who knew her, I think, was more than a little in love with this lady whom most of us had never met in person), but of my life as a writer.

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Christmas Gifts for Sherlock Holmes fans

Doctorfront.jpgMy wartime (that is, the Great War of 1914-1918) adventure of Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Deceased Doctor”, which first appeared in The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Part V, and was subsequently published in Notes on Some Singular Cases of Mr. Sherlock Holmes (j-views) is now available as a free download from here in both Kindle (MOBI) and iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc. (EPUB) editions.

But wait, there’s more!

If you’ve already read, or bought this story, but are missing some of my other Sherlock Holmes adventures, from now to Christmas 2018, there’s a 25% discount on all my other Sherlock Holmes titles (excluding the box sets) bought through this site. I’m using PayPal as the payment method, and a service called SendOwl to ensure secure delivery of the books.

See them at:

Simply use the code SHER-UN-LOCK-2018 when you check out.

And please let me know if you encounter any problems with the purchasing or payment process. I will never take over from Amazon, but it’s very nice to be able to offer a small-scale alternative to the big boys, and I want it to work as well as possible.

If you’re not sure how to “sideload” an ebook onto your reader, click here for instructions.

(the original of the header image from Aussie~Mobs is to be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hwmobs/16698026584/ and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence)

A talking ferret for Christmas!

LestradeThrowsHatIf you know children aged between 7 and 11 (or thereabouts) who would enjoy having a detective story read to them, why not give Sherlock Ferret and the Phantom Photographer a try? The world’s cutest detective takes on a case at the request of his client, Mr. Montague Mole, helped by his friend Watson Mouse M.D., and their friend Lestrade, who is a rhinoceros (though not a very big one).

Here’s a little extract:

Sherlock Ferret’s well-whiskered friend Watson Mouse M.D. tells the story of how Mr. Montague Mole shows photographs of his family, but he has no idea who has taken them! Could it be a phantom photographer?

As so often, the nefarious Moriarty Magpie appears to be involved, along with the mysterious Sir Basil Badger, who vanished several years before, after eating twenty-seven jam tarts (and lots of other delicious things!). But thanks to Sherlock Ferret’s knowledge, his Big Books, and the Bakery Irregulars, all is put right in the end, and the Mole family can sleep safely all day (for the night is their busy time).

To buy the whole book (a little over an hour long, 92MB – uses PayPal for the £8 payment):

If you want to read the book, you can buy it (and the other Sherlock Ferret titles) from Amazon, etc.

Did I get it right?

A couple of years or so ago, I started an experiment. I wanted to write a novel in a place I had never visited, and about people I have never been, and never will be.

The result was Balance of Powers – which came out much better than I expected, to my mind, anyway. I am sure there are some flaws in it, though – but no-one has pointed them out to me yet. Perhaps you can help me here.

Continue reading “Did I get it right?”

Agatha Raisin – second thoughts

After my review of one of M.C.Beaton’s books, in which I basically trashed the story, the editing, and the characterisation, I read other reviews of the book on Amazon and discovered that Dead Ringer was atypical. So, being the generous soul that I am, I decided to try again.

Continue reading “Agatha Raisin – second thoughts”

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffere & Annie Barrows – REVIEW

We recently visited Guernsey, and most of the touristy shops made a big thing out of selling the book (often marketed as “the book of the film”) or the DVD. Of course the book came out first, and on our return when a friend offered to lend me either the book or the DVD or both, I chose the book.

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