30th September 2009

There you are. Where have you been?

This is publication day of THE CUCKOO CLOCK SCAM. Whoopee! This is the 14th Angel book. Whoever would have thought it?
It is also the day the queen and I set on one side for doing the shopping, so we shall be doing Tescos et al as normal today, and tomorrow - we are going out to the pub to celebrate with a terrific haddock and chips.

This afternoon, I reckon it will take an hour or two retuning our three televisions. The clever people out there say it’s easy, so I don’t expect it will be. If you’re one of the gifted people and do yours easily, why don’t you pop next door and offer to help them with theirs? Then you can call here and do ours.

Come back soon.
September 18th 2009

It’s been accepted. My latest book THE SNUFF BOX MURDERS has been accepted by the publishers and should be out in 2010. Received the letter this morning. And they said some very complimentary things about it, too. But, you know me. I’m far too modest to repeat them. (Let it never be said that I blow my own trumpet). But I am absolutely thrilled, and as my kind readers in the US might say in similar circumstances, ‘It’s awesome.’

Do you know, I feel like going to the fridge and opening a new bottle of lemonade. But I won’t. It’s too cold. THE SNUFF BOX MURDERS will be the 16th Angel book, and my diary notes tell me I started writing it on Tuesday, February 17th that’s nearly 7 months … seems more like 7 years. Anyway, now I’ve started another Angel book. I have a hot plot cooking.

Don’t forget. I’ve a new book coming out on September 30th. It’s called THE CUCKOO CLOCK SCAM. It’s a hoot. There are cuckoo clocks all over Bromersley. Angel sees them in all the crooks’ and villains’ houses, but he doesn’t know why. There should be copies in your library by the 30th. If there isn’t, smile sweetly at the lady and ask her if she’ll get one for you. She probably will, and she’ll probably smile back as well. Amazon have them in stock.

Barnsley library is very good to me. I remember going in there for a particular book, late last year. I couldn’t remember the title, the author or the publisher. The two ladies behind the counter looked at me with a blank expression. I felt a right Charlie. I told them the book was published in the 1920s or 1930s. I knew that. I told them a bit about the plot, and blow me! in about two minutes, they came up with the book I was after. It wasn’t on the shelves, but hidden away in the attic for some reason. Anyway, they stamped it, processed my other four books, and had me outside the library on Shambles Street, heading back to the car before I had time to say that I’d left my specs and a packet with two pieces of fresh haddock on a table in the reference room.

Anyway, now I’ve started writing another Angel book, I’d better get back to it.
Come back soon, for more ramblings from of an old writer.
September 15th 2009

I’m sat here like a hen sat on an egg, waiting to see if the publishers are going to accept the new Angel book I have submitted, THE SNUFF BOX MURDERS.

I already had a super plot idea in mind, so I’ve started another book. I have written the opening – a page and a half - which seems all right and I think, suitably intriguing, but I can’t think of a sub-plot, and that’s winding me up a bit. If it doesn’t come to me soon, I might paste and save what I have written somewhere, and instead, write a short story I have been carrying at the back of my mind, which I believe is ideal for a Sherlock Holmes pastiche. But I really don’t want to break away from writing about Angel. That’s what everybody seems to want and expects from me.

Now that I am between books, so to speak, I phoned my dear, old friend, the retired priest I have written about earlier in this diary. He is now 92¾, he was quick to remind me. I was ringing him to arrange to pick him up and take him to our favorite country pub for a meal and a drink together. He has always looked forward to that, as he doesn’t walk very well and didn’t therefore get out much. But sadly, much to my surprise and disappointment, he didn’t want to know. He was most gracious, but he really didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. Not even a run in the country in the car. (He’s never been a car owner, himself) …. He explained that now he’s not keen to leave the tiny flat where he lives on his own. He said he feels confident there. He said that anyway, he can’t now comfortably wear shoes … slippers are the order of the day. He said he couldn’t eat much. He’s not very hungry, he said and his tummy is soon full. He would leave most of any meal. I said that it didn’t matter at all, but he wouldn’t have it. He said that he’d be embarrassed. There were probably other reasons, which he may have been unwilling to go into. In the end, I had to give in. I asked him if it would it be all right if I visited him. That seemed to be acceptable. Is there anything you would like me to bring with me? No thank you, Roger. I have everything I need. Just bring yourself, whenever you like.
I will, I said. Very soon. I am worried about him. 92¾ is a great age.

If you have a relation, friend or neighbour who is over 90, tell me what they like to do, what they like to eat and drink, where they like to go, what they like to see, and so on ... I am sure it would be most interesting. Email me at angeldetective@uwclub.net. I would always be pleased to hear from you and I might be able to include an extract of your letter in my next diary entry.

I say, this morning I bought ten ordinary 150 watt lamps for £19.90, that £1.99 each. The shop said that they had plenty and still expected to have stock up to 12 months from now … that is until they sell out, or the manufacturer stopped making them. I am pleased about that. I should have at least a year before I need worry about falling over the cat when going in the kitchen to make our night time cocoa or breaking my neck tripping up in the dark corner on the stairs when going to bed.

Come back soon if you can put up with more ramblings from this old writer.
September 10th 2009

Hello there. Well, I know I’ve been a bit quiet this last two or three weeks. It’s because I have been finishing another Angel book. And it’s a time when I do tend to get rather intense … worrying about the pernickety details of the plot working out right, and whether the characters are well rounded, original and interesting … And I worry about whether you’ll enjoy it or not … and whether the publishers will accept it or not. They’ve never declined one yet, but it could happen. We worriers worry about everything.

Well, I finished it last night, printed it off this morning and the queen is downstairs reading it right now. I don’t discuss the storyline or the characters in the book with her when I’m actually writing. She likes it to come to her completely fresh. However, I often discuss grammar and the colloquial meaning of words and things like that. Well, she’s far clever that I am. (I am sure she’s right because she keeps telling me what a fool I am). I accept that she’s better educated. She was streets ahead of me at school and college. She got a distinction in French, and played the violin like an angel. In fact, if Nigel Kennedy had heard her play ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee,’ he would have chopped up his violin and become a male model.

I’ve titled the new book THE SNUFF BOX MURDERS, but that could change. If it is accepted, it’ll not be for publication until next year. I am very excited about it, but I can’t say anymore. The publishers don’t like me saying too much about a new title before it is released.

Incidentally, the last three weeks I have been able to write in a lot more comfort, because, for our wedding anniversary, the queen bought me a posh chair for my little den. Those who know me well will know that I had back trouble twenty years ago, and like Brideshead, it came back again in 2004. Since then, I have been writing, resting on the bed, on my left side, elbow on the pillows, on a laptop on a sloping table and tapping the keyboard with one finger. I did that for four years … wrote eight books like that. However, after all that time, that position caused me to develop pain in the shoulder. After numerous injections and consultations, the doc said that I must change my writing position. Now that my back was so much better, she said, I should try to sit up at a desk as normal but in a comfortable super duper padded adjustable swivel back chair.
I was unsure about it. Anyway, at enormous expense, the queen has bought me, an all singing all dancing, fully adjustable, multi padded, twelve cylinder diesel chair with integral microwave, toaster, 16 free channels and automatic 12 second flush. Now I sit upright and tap away like Fred Astaire, hopefully not aggravating shoulder or back. So please keep your fingers crossed … it would we be wonderful for me if it works.
Now I know the cynical of you will be saying, ‘That’s OK but what have you bought the queen?’ Well, all right, the truth will out. I haven’t bought her anything yet, but as soon as she makes up her mind, I will get it for her. She can have anything she wants. I’ve told her that, and I mean it. I draw the line at anything that’s both big and alive though. She knows that I won’t shell out for a couple of elephants. Or even a little one on its own.

I had a good bit of news yesterday morning in the post. I was told that my book WILD ABOUT HARRY is going to be recorded to be accessible to the blind and anyone who wants to buy it or borrow it from a library. I do hope they get a Northern voice to record it. I write my books as I feel and I think any other accent but Yorkshire wouldn’t sound the genuine article, if you know what I mean. The CDs should be out in the libraries and shops in a couple of month’s or so.

Moving on …
What are we going to do about these new electric lamps? We have been led like innocent lambs into this green environment lark. I wasn’t consulted. Were you? I have a few of these monstrosities in the house that give off a dirty creamy glow. I tried one. Last winter, it made my den seem like a Victorian outside lavatory. They have mostly been given as free gifts by power companies who couldn’t get shut of them. Frankly I don’t know what to do. I have to confess that most of the important lights in the house are currently 150 watt. We wouldn’t be able to see around the room safely with anything less powerful.
The two lamps at each side of the bed are 60 watt spot bulbs. Now spot bulbs reflect the light from the back of the lamp, which is usually wasted, to the front. So for a small area, up to about a yard away, spot lamps work perfectly satisfactorily for small work. I don’t know if these lamps are also to be banned by the European ruling.
But how are people with defective eyesight going to manage? I have a friend who can only see out of one eye… and not very well at that. He doesn’t know how he’ll manage.
I notice all the big houses round about are still keeping their powerful all night outside security lights on. I don’t blame them for that, but how will they be able to buy replacement lamps? Maybe I’ll ask them and then go down and get a stock in hand.
‘We are listening to you,’ these politicians say. But they aren’t. It’s just so much guff. Nobody ever listens to us, do they? It’s all a con. This new law has not been thought out properly or fully. We are being ruled by idiots. Overpaid idiots. And it’s been like this for years.

The government took us into a war we don’t need, didn’t want, and didn’t seek, and today, our troops are fighting in the wrong country. We should be punching Al Quaeda out of Pakistan.

The banning of smoking in public places has seriously damaged people’s social lives, and is an interference with our liberty. That law was a step too far. Pubs are closing in their hundreds. I have heard all the arguments and the anti smokers have a good case, but it is wrong in a free country to make such absolute laws without thinking of all the consequences. I should add that I neither smoke nor drink, but I did my share until ten years ago. But, do you know, a strange thing …. I could just smoke a Benson and Hedges right now!

Come back soon if you can put up with more from the ramblings of an old writer.

If you’ve any bright ideas or comments you’d like to say about this diary, or anything else for that matter, email me at angeldetective@uwclub.net. I would be pleased to hear from you and I might include an extract of your letter in my next diary entry. Then again, because I am not a politician, I might not.