Thursday 25th March 2010

There you are.

Terrific news. I have just heard that THE CUCKOO CLOCK SCAM, published on the 30th September 2009 is already out of print. That means on the one hand that sales have rocketed (which, of course, I am ecstatic about), but it also mean that latecomers won’t get a copy, as it will be impossible to persuade my publisher to reprint it in this financial climate. (It took 31 years to get a reprint of my first book, DEADLY DAFFODILS!)

Incidentally, the real daffs in our garden have arrived! The gold colour from my study window cuts through the mist, lightens the gloom and cheers me up. I thought we’d lost them all in the big freeze. Thank goodness for some normality.

Of course the winter just past is how winters used to be. I suppose if you’re under 20, you will think it unusual. I remember being caught in Aberdeen in 1962 and having to spend the weekend there because the roads were impassable and the trains had stopped running.

Moving on …
I received a cosy letter from the gas people telling they want more money. MORE MONEY! There is a subtle hint in the small print if you look hard for it that had me dashing off to read the meter.
The gas companies don’t read meters anymore. They haven’t time. They are too busy adjusting price lists upwards. Besides that, reading meters is a dirty, cold unsociable job … creeping round houses, knocking on doors, waiting for folks to answer. So many people out at work … nobody in all day, so that the reader has to call back in the evening. Can’t do that.
Anyway, I phoned the actual meter reading through to the sugar tonsilled lady at the gas company and she lowered the bill. Just like that.

I frequently mention in the books that Angel is worried about paying the gas bill. I would be interested to hear what you think about today’s gas prices (or anything else). The address is If you write anything interesting, I might mention it here on the diary.

I heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer say he was making plans to make it easy for everybody to have a bank account. (Presumably as the first stage in organising a new way of taking money off us).
And I was thinking, doesn’t he know it’s always been easy to open a bank account? The only requirement was that you had to have money, the more the better. If you hadn’t any or much, there wasn’t much point and you might have been turned away.
Anyway, millions of people still don’t want a bank account and pay their bills at the Post Office. They trust the Post Office. But the government wants to close down the Post Offices that everybody trusts and move the business to the banks that nobody trusts!

Is there any hope for commonsense?

Still hacking away at the Angel book. It’s taking shape now. It should be finished in about six weeks. It is proving quite a marathon, but I am writing carefully. I want Angel fans to enjoy it and get their money’s worth. This will be the 17th Angel book. My next Angel book out is THE SNUFFBOX MURDERS on June 16th 2010.

Come back soon if you can put up with more ramblings from this old writer.
Tuesday, March 16th 2010

Well hello there. Welcome back.

The temperature today in sunny South Yorkshire is forecast to be 15C. Isn’t that fantabulous? I may soon have no excuse at all for not walking round the Park. My main reason this year has been the atrocious weather, and the need to work at my new Angel book.

It was a heavy fall of snow overnight that prevented some members, me included, from attending the Crime Writers’ Association Northern Branch dinner and conference last month. Meeting up with fellow writers and old friends, enables us to compare notes, talk about publishers and generally beef about everything to do with writing crime. That companionship is valuable and I missed it. The next one is in October, I will have to wait until then to recharge my battery.

We have a dear lady, Elaine, who looks after the queen and me. She keeps the dust out of mouths, prepares meals and generally does everything. She planned to go away for a week’s holiday recently which was fine, although I wondered how we would manage. Anyway, Elaine said that her elder daughter, Sharon, could come in for a few hours and keep us tidy and organised while she was away, if we would like. The queen and I were very grateful and gladly agreed to the idea. So Elaine went off on her holiday with her younger daughter Sheree to Italy, and Sharon duly arrived that Monday morning and did her stuff. Although Elaine was a thousand miles away in a foreign country, (‘Bonjourno,’ to all my Italian readers, by the by), apparently she was in regular contact by ‘text’ with Sharon. And Sharon, who I thought was a darling, looked after us admirably, and everything seemed to go all right.
However, when Elaine returned, among many other things she showed me a text that Sharon had sent to her after the first day coming here. It read, ‘I could throttle Mr Silverwood. He complains so much.’
Naturally I wasn’t pleased, but I made light of it.
Then later Sharon came round to show me the text her mother had sent to her from Italy in reply. It read, ‘Yes. He moans. Take no notice.’
‘He moans. Take no notice.’ Me! I didn’t know what to say. I denied it categorically, of course. Everybody who knows me, knows that I am as easy as an old boot. Women!

Of course I have been hammering away on my computer at my new book which is something of a tussle. (It’s like marriage. It gets harder as you go along.) Getting the characters believable, Angel’s wit as sharp as I can make it and a plot that is both original and exciting is no mean task for Angel’s 17th outing. It will still be some weeks before I finish it. I hope readers will think it’s all been worth waiting for.

Meanwhile, THE SNUFFBOX MURDERS will be published in July and will be the 16th Angel book.

And while writing, I am pleased to advise that the audio rights in SHRINE TO MURDER have been sold to Isis, so that the blind can hear it recorded by Jonathan Keeble on disc or cassette. They will be ready in April.

Also, the large print rights in WILD ABOUT HARRY have been sold to Thorpes and will be published in April. Thorpes have published my other Angel books, which is super.

I think that's about all I can think of for now. Now I must find my walking boots and stick.

Take care and come back soon.