Friday, 3 May 2013


My latest crime novel, Legally Bound, set in Regent's Park and the City of London is now available online at Amazon. The print version will be out later this year.

I conceived this story several years ago as a TV drama script, and encouraging noises were made about it by the BBC, but in the end - after two  years on option, they didn't produce it. So last year, I started writing it up as a crime novel. The key location is Regent's Park, the best park in London as far as I'm concerned. It was a cherished space for me to walk through on my way to work from Primrose Hill to Great Portland Street. At week ends, I hired a deck chair for the day and sunbathed, reading books and drinking cups of tea from the flask I brought with me. The gardens were my Riviera, full of characters - some of whom pop up in the background in this dark novel. A callous crime takes place in the park, although I always thought of it - and still do -  as a sanctuary....


Thursday, 28 February 2013


'Fatal Truths' my new psychological thriller and the last in the Louise Moon series is now available on Amazon Kindle. It's a brand new novel, published for the first time as an e-book by Endeavour Press.

Here's the link:


High Tory Honcho, David Cameron has refused to stand off on the so-called bedroom tax which will force people living in social housing who have a surplus bedroom into moving out and downsizing. The problem with that  is there is little surplus social housing for them to downsize into, and the government is thus going to have spend more on subsidising rents in the private sector. Chancellor Osborne is already borrowing a billion pounds more than Gordon Brown did, in spite of all these Tory cuts and 'austerity measures'. Where is this borrowed money going?  Brown borrowed to sustain the welfare state which Cameron et al are bent on destroying at the expense of the poor and the disabled. The bedroom tax has provoked outrage on the part of medical and social care charities working with disabled adults and children, so Cameron said he would look at each case on an individual basis.That's a lot of cases - 120,000 and counting (Channel 4 News 28 February). To take up the slack, the government are now going to allocate  £30 million to local councils to set up and administer assessment procedures for the individuals subject to the new policy. That's a waste of money and a laughable game of politics by anybody's book. Lord Freud, the minister responsible for steering through the new changes, had nothing to say but 'Erm' to the reporter who finally caught up with him from Channel 4. Too posh to be interviewed, the Tories always seem to run and hide behind vague statements and airy-fairypromises. Freud and Cameron need a good stuffing from Jeremy Paxman.  Only lunatics would elect these people to a second term. They've messed up the economy and,worse than that, they've cut the safety net for vulnerable people. Aneurin Bevin must be turning in his grave.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


The horsemeat-in-burgers scandal (UK news reports 17 January) reminded me of the time I was unwittingly served horse steaks by an Anglophobic medical student in France - she had heard all the frog and snail jokes wafting over the English Channel. She shared an apartment with my French 'sister' and insisted on cooking one evening. The first course was good - tuna and sweetcorn vinaigrette, which I had never tasted before, although the tuna and sweetcorn combo has since become a nasty staple in British sandwich fillings found on supermarket shelves. The second course was fillets of steak, still bleeding. I took a couple of bites, then Brigitte stared at me in triumph: 'Tu aimes les cotes de cheval?' I didn't rise to it, of course. I just carried on eating, and the meat tasted pretty much like beef. I haven't eaten it since though for the same reason I won't eat veal (which is delicious) or lamb: I rode ponies and horses when I was a child and don't like the idea of eating one. They were my friends, and I don't eat my friends... I see the spring lambs in the fields and weep over what is to come to them. This is just sentimental claptrap of course because I eat cows, pigs and chickens, which have a far worse life in industrialised sheds than many horses and lambs, gambolling in the fields and salt-marshes.

What struck me about the reports was the word 'contaminated' because I suspect the horse DNA found in the burgers is far less 'contaminating' than the revolting sludge recovered from meat carcasses that constitutes the ingredients for most supermarket pies, sausages and burgers. Down the street where I lived in Paris was a 'boucher chevaline' which did a good trade with the people in the quatrier..  I walked past the horse's head on the sign every day on my way to the market but bought my 'viande hache' (steak mince) from the general butcher further down. I would never buy supermarket mince - not even Marks & Spencers which purports to be free range or organic. The safest bet is to make home-made burgers with beef from the local butcher, raised and slaughtered locally and ground in the mincer in the butcher's shop. That is the way it used to be in the time of rationing during the Second World War when the British diet was purported to have been then healthiest it has ever been. I remember the mincer and sausage machine at the local butcher near where I grew up, and the grocer slicing huge joints of boiled ham and farm-made cheese. Today, we eat plastic-wrapped  shit. There is no other word for it. There are so many chemical contaminants  and salt and sugar additives in British food, it is hardly surprising that we are the fattest nation in Europe, although the continentals, feeding increasingly the American way, are catching up.

Bottom line: I'd rather eat a bleeding 'cote de cheval' than a Tesco burger or pie.

photo: Richard Faisey

Friday, 28 December 2012

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


This  came in today from Richard Faisey

''Two weeks ago I took some pictures of a yearly gift happening. This local group collect shoe boxes and other bags filled with goods and other useful items to send abroad for Christmas....''

And I thought of Tiny Tim in 'A Christmas Carol':    GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE

photos by Richard Faisey

Thursday, 6 December 2012


My new e-book, 'Remains of the Dead' was published yesterday by Endeavour Press. Here's the link:

Readers of my blogs may know that I write psychological thrillers involving the dead  (victims of murder, victims of social neglect, sudden heart attacks, dramatic suicides). They are commercial but serious in tone - at least that was my intention when I wrote them. I'm now flattered to see my new publishers  comparing me with the the likes of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs.

All my novels are set in London, where I lived and worked for nearly twenty years and which continues to inspire me every time I go up there, which is often, because  I always find something new to discover about life in the metropolis. London is the focus of my inspiration and Cornwall is my writing base. I would find it difficult to write stories about Cornwall because it has never presented me with any dramatic tensions - apart from hospital treatments.

That said, I had a street encounter here on the Celtic fringe  as I was walking home from Truro city centre the other day.  Heading towards me as I struggled with my carrier bags
were two people whom I can only describe as characters from the Jeremy Kyle Show (she sporting  Ugg boots and leggings, scraped back pony tail,  large hooped ear-rings and lighting a fag; he in cheap trainers and  hoodie pulled up over his head). As I passed them, feeling benign as I always do after a sortie in the fresh air, the male character sort of hooted in my face and shouted something, the only discernible word being 'fucking'. I carried on walking but after a few steps turned round  to find him gazing back at me. 'Chav', I said, quietly but clearly and walked on, wondering if he'd chase me and wrestle me to the ground. Then I wondered, as I always do with street encounters, what the story was behind the pair.

They weren't working, obviously, or going to work, but she could afford £6 for a packet of cigarettes (I am so glad I  quit smoking eighteen years ago because I couldn't afford £45 a week for twenty cigs a day). They were coming from the direction of Trelander,  a large concrete council estate on the valley slopes, built in the sixties to house incoming workers in the power industry - or so I was told by an old Truro native. This housing provision could be compared with the early Victorian stuccoed terraces in Primrose Hill, one of which I used to inhabit in a tiny rented flatlet. These bijou London homes were built for railway workers on the new Euston mainline. The difference is that Primrose Hill has long since been gentrified and celebrity-fied, while Trelander has deteriorated into a no-go enclave for no-hopers.

But why do under-educated no-hopers whose only ambition in life is to appear on the Jeremy Kyle Show to kill the endless hours of boredom they must encounter have to be obnoxious? Big Issue sellers, of which there are several in Truro in this era of homelessness,  are resourceful and polite and - if I'm not putting too romantic a spin on it - purposeful. People without purpose other than to 'drink and eat and screw' as Jarvis Cocker put it in his song 'Common People' (memorably spoofed on YouTube with Cameron and Co lookalikes), are just menaces.  The French word, menacer,  means to threaten and this obnoxious behaviour threatens us all. No amount of cuts and checks and Big Society rhetoric is going to fix it. Love-bombing with benefits and other hand-outs hasn't worked for social pariahs  like this pair. I hate to find myself  saying so,  but a spell of national service - military or civil l(a German boyfriend I had did his civil/national service in a mortuary, inspiring some of my material for 'Remains of the Dead'... ) might be a  base-line solution. My granddad, an indentured joiner who served his apprenticeship just after World War I, would have called the pair 'ignorant', which is exactly what they are, although, unlike my granddad, they were offered a free education until they were sixteen followed by a swift transition to an idle and purposeless life as as a menace. What is to be done? as the Bolsheviks would say.