January 25th
The Conversion of St Paul.
Also the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.

There you are. I wondered where you were.

I apologize for neglecting this diary but I have had my head down writing my new Angel book, and trying to avoid the responsibilities of husband, householder and citizen of the world. It was all going terribly well until I estimated that I was going to overrun by around 40/45 pages. Now that’s a lot. I couldn’t expect the publisher to find room for that much excess, so I’ve had to adjust the plot slightly and make some changes; it will necessitate some re-writing. The whole thing will set me back about a month. It’ll make a better book out of it (else I wouldn’t do it). There will be fewer characters and that will streamline the story and make it easier (that is quicker) to read.
It’s quite a scary tale about a serial murderer who seems to know what is happening and therefore must be very close to Angel and the team. Its tentative title is MURDER BY NUMBERS, but that might change.

Hey! Yesterday I was conned by the queen. She knows I won’t go into shops during the lunatic period some people call ‘The Sales,’ when sweet reasonableness, good taste and commonsense fly out of the window and idiocy and greed take over. She asked me at very short notice to take her to Cortonwood. It’s a retail shopping centre about twenty minutes away. You know I can never say no to her. She always gets her own way. She was so excited. Anybody would think I was taking her to see Karen Mathews being banged up. She wanted some blouses of a certain size, colour, design and fastening, but they were not to be had. It gave me the opportunity to browse round a book shop. It was great. I found some old reference books about crime that I was eager to have, also I bought RAVEN BLACK by Ann Cleeves I had wanted (I met her at a Crime Writers’ Association dinner, she’s a prize winning writer and a very nice woman) and THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER by Kate Summerscale which I had also been told was great. I don’t have a lot of time to read, but I like to have something on hand when sitting around in doctor’s surgeries, hospitals and waiting rooms at railway stations (and in bathrooms!).

By the way ...
Have you noticed how difficult it is to get hold of a really nice sponge? Well you have to buy artificial because, I am told, the natural ones are shapeless and soon fall apart. Artificial ones are made from plastic foam I believe. You would think the ingenuity of man would be able to devise a simple sponge.
I have had four rubbishy ones over the past 12 months. Even the best of them had to be washed and squeezed and massaged to remove all the soap I’d rubbed into them time after time, and they all eventually turn into slimy lumps beyond redemption. I seem to remember as a child having great fun in the bath with a big one. Oh, somebody out there make me a sponge!

If you want to write to me, you can, at <angeldetective@uwclub.net>, and if it’s really interesting, I might publish it here.

By the way, don’t believe all you see on television, the newspapers and on the radio. Journalists, reporters and newsmen have never had it so good. The end of the world is not imminent. Disaster is not about to knock on your door. The world will survive. This chaos in the banking and financial world is all about readjusting the distribution of wealth. The easy days are over. The jackpot, crackpot days of something for nothing are gone. The magic dust has turned into sand. Luck has run out for the incompetent leeches who run businesses, banks*, institutions, large and small, and they will now have to start working for a living. It may be tough for some little people - and I greatly regret that – but for those who will work hard and are worth their wage packet, it will be a lot better in the end, so hang on in there.

I’ll get back to you soon. Take care.

*Banks are businesses just like Woolworths. I don’t believe they should have special treatment at our expense, do you?

January 6th Twelve Night 2009

There you are.

Well it’s all over. Would you believe it? Taken the cards and tree and trimmings down. Hope you had a great time. If you had a party I hope it went with well. If there was just the two of you or you are on your own, hope you managed to keep warm, well and happy.

I bought myself a big posh expensive looking volume called, “Great British Fictional Detectives A – Z”, by Russell James. Published January 1st. It’s supposed to be the latest authority on the subject. Well, you’ve got to keep up to date with what’s going on. Of course it’s full of big wheels like Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Morse and so on. You would expect that. But it also included Maigret, Columbo and some others, who are not British, which surprised me greatly, considering the title of the book. Anyway, I wanted to see what they had written about Angel. I was pleasantly surprised. I reproduce the entry below …

by Roger Silverwood

DI Angel is a serious, hard working copper from South Yorkshire, who thinks for himself and does his own thing while relying nevertheless on his team of four close colleagues. Off duty, he loves his wife, his cats and murder – but the only time he ever smiles is when a murderer gets Life. The series is set in the present day, in real time, with Angel currently in his mid–forties.
In The Midst of Life (2001), Choker (2002), The Man in the Pink Suit (2003), The Importance of Being Honest (2003) Mantrap (2004), Salamander (2005) Sham (2006) The Umbrella Man (2005), The Man Who Couldn’t Lose (2007), The Curious Mind of Inspector Angel (2007), Find The Lady (2008), Wigmaker (2008), Murder in Bare Feet (2008).

… Don’t you think they did him proud? I was tolerably well suited. It summed Angel up very well, I thought. I found the book most interesting … included a few writer friends I know or have met.

Did you know that it’s illegal to take chewing-gum into Singapore? Perfectly true.
Importing or distributing chewing gum is a crime punishable by a fine or up to one year in prison.
I found that out the other day when I was reading a legal book, researching a smuggling story I am thinking of writing. Personally I don’t use chewing gum. I only mention it because it just sounded so ridiculous.

It is very cold today, but cheer up, the forecasters say it’ll be warmer tomorrow and at the weekend.

Thanks for looking in. I’ll get back to you soon.