22nd December 2012

Hello there…

Well, I hope you’ve got it all done, cards, tree, decorations, pressies, food. And now you’ve time to reflect on Christmas itself … I hope that you’re set for a happy time, perhaps with family, perhaps with just your spouse or even by yourself. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I do hope you will enjoy yourself.

I suppose we should be pleased if we’ve got enough food, warmth, a comfortable bed and a friend. At least one good friend. And good health.

I don’t know why I’m talking like this. I think I’ve seen or heard so many stories recently - both true and fiction - about people deprived of the necessities of life that I really find it biting at my soul. It’s telling me to be grateful for what I’ve got and not to be grumbling all the time, to which I must plead guilty.

I’ve said enough about that. Let’s get jolly. I’ve good reason to be jolly. I am delighted that Amazon have chosen three of my Angel books to put in their ‘100 Kindle books for £2.99 or less’. I am greatly honoured. I understand that at £1.99 each, sales are well up to expectations. But this all comes to an end on December 31st, when the price goes back up to around £6 each. The titles are MURDER IN BARE FEET, THE MAN WHO COULDN’T LOSE and THE CURIOUS MIND OF INSPECTOR ANGEL.

Watch out for THE DIAMOND ROSARY MURDERS, another Inspector Angel mystery which will be out on December 31st.

By the way I did get weighed on December 7th and I was exactly the same as last month. I’m not pleased because I work so hard at the gym and try to keep to the diet suggested by the course leader, sexy Linda, who is very good and knows what she’s talking about. However she says that after two years, six hours a week in the gym some of my body fat will be changing into muscle which weighs heavier than fat. I believe her. She could sell sand to the Arabs. I get weighed next early in January (after all that Christmas pudding and brandy sauce!). I’ll let you know the verdict anyway.

Say a prayer for your loved ones and yourself.

Have a great Christmas, and a very happy New Year.

6th December 2012

Hello, friends.

Just a few lines to say that …

I have just heard that Amazon, the on-line booksellers, have chosen three of my Inspector Angel mysteries to be in their pre-Christmas selection of ‘100 Kindle books each for £2.99 or less’. They are MURDER IN BARE FEET, THE MAN WHO COULDN’T LOSE and THE CURIOUS MIND OF INSPECTOR ANGEL. Electronic editions for Kindle readers can now, for a month, buy them for £1.99 a copy, which means I’ll be able to have turkey at Christmas instead of shredded copies of my first book boiled up with a chicken stock cube.

My latest book, THE DIAMOND ROSARY MURDERS will be published in hardback on December 31st, as if you need reminding.

By the way, getting weighed tomorrow all being well. Snow is forecast for the Pennines, which is us. If it too much, I shall not venture out. I’ll stay in and write. In which case I will probably wait another month before going to sexy Linda at ‘Change4Life’ – that’s the new name for ‘Weight Wise.’

Hope to see you before Christmas. Keep warm and safe.

November 27th 2012

Hello there.

Well, friends, I am pleased to say that my latest book has been accepted and will be published in hardback initially in 2013. It will be called THE BIG FIDDLE and, of course, it is an Angel book. It has taken ages to write. The storyline is a bit different and I hope you will enjoy it.

I told you I would let you know how my weight losing programme was going on. Well, sexy Linda weighed me on November 2nd and the horrific news was that in three months I have put on 2½ lbs. I was mortified. I should be taking it off, not putting it on. As I said last month, the trouble is, that although I am eliminating all the wrong foods and eating all the right foods, I’m eating too much of them. I have to reduce the size of the portions I eat or increase my activity in the gym. It’s difficult. But I will persevere.

I had a lovely letter from a man who is 64, and lives in Devon. He said he hadn’t read a book in his life. His wife gave him a copy of an Angel book. He read it and apparently enjoyed it, because he then went to the library and borrowed book after book until he’d read them all except THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS and DEADLY DAFFODILS. Well as THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS was the latest book of mine to be published I expect it hadn’t arrived at the library yet. Unfortunately, DEADLY DAFFODILS is out of print. Well it would be. I first wrote it in 1970. Luckily, I had a paperback copy reprinted in 2002, so I sent that on to him, with thanks for his kindness in bothering to write and say nice things about the books. I wish him well. I’m sure you’ll join me. And good luck with his reading, whatever it may be.

I have now six Angel titles on Kindle and other electronic readers.

They are







So all you posh Kindle owners have the opportunity of reading about Angel.  I hope to have all my titles published this way as well as in hardback. 

Well I did get started on a new Angel book. You can’t stop me writing once I begin. I’m about a third of the way through. I shall have to knock off in about two weeks time to concentrate on Christmas. We make a bit of thing of it here. I like sending cards and receiving them. Many of them are the only contact I have with friends and loved ones we rarely see, perhaps sadly only at funerals. Well, it’s the sort of lives we all lead. Everybody is busy busy busy doing their own little thing … I’m as a bad. There’s no talking to me sometimes when I am struggling with a plot or a character. If I ever hurt anybody through being far away, so to speak, please excuse me. I apologise most heartily. I don’t mean to be thoughtless or rude. Please forgive me.

Well, it was ‘Stir up’ Sunday, two days ago,the Sunday before Advent, the time traditionally when you made your Christmas puddings. I hope you’ve got yours ready. To tell the truth we buy ours from Tesco.

I hope you are healthy and that all your family are in good form. Not every family is harmonious this autumn. Unemployment is bothering some, the shortage of money and illness of one or more members of a family is worrying others. And there are other problems … we hope that nevertheless you are able to enjoy the preparations for Christmas as we still do.

Whatever you do, enjoy doing it. Have a great time and enjoy your reading.

October 1st 2012

Ah, there you are.

At long last I’ve managed to finish my latest book. It is a very unusual story which pushes Angel into some tricky situations. I have had my head down and tried to ignore everything and everybody in a mammoth effort to weave my way through the plotline and finish it. Great joy!!

It’s my 20th Angel book and it’s called THE BIG FIDDLE. I’ve submitted it to the publishers for publication in hardback first, and I’ll let you know what they say. As a consequence, I have a pile of papers on my desk 15 inches high, which I must deal with.

Now, as I finish a book, I usually have an idea for a new book on my mind, but I have to admit I haven’t an idea in my head. You know, one of the first questions people ask when they get to know me is, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ I always have to say, ‘I don’t know,’ and that’s the truth. I really don’t know. I will have to wait a little while and be patient.

What usually happens is that I hear about (or see for myself) a real life situation which may seem unusual or odd. I think about it and begin to wonder, if it was changed around a little and someone did this, and someone else did that, how the situation might turn into a suitable criminal plot. Most of the ideas fall on their face but eventually out pops a storyline for Angel.

Well, I’m still managing to lose a little weight. I am losing it at around two pounds a month, which I know isn’t much, but, as sexy Linda said, multiply that by 12 for a year and that’s more than stone. And it’s always harder when you’re into your 3rd year of ‘Change 4 Life’, which I am. The trouble is, that although I am eliminating all the wrong foods and eating all the right foods, but I’m eating too much of them. I have to reduce the size of the portions or increase my activity in the gym.

My next new Angel book, THE DIAMOND ROSARY MURDERS is still on track to be published in hardback on December 31st.

It’ll soon be time to hang your stocking up. The only contribution I have made towards that is that I’ve ordered our Christmas cards from Barnardo’s.

Have a great time, and enjoy your reading.

Thursday, June 21st 2012

Thursday, June 21st 2012

There you are.

Today is the longest day of the year. And for around eight consecutive years, the queen and I used to make a point of being in the very north of Scotland on this day. We used to stay on the north coast near Durness at a hamlet called Sango Bay overlooking the sea. It was a quiet and beautiful place to stay and write. I remember I used to go in and paddle … the water was cold and loads of jelly fish used to float in and be left on the silvery sand. I used to enjoy seeing how late one could stay up and read a newspaper in the unusual and ample natural light of the evening of the longest day. 11.40 pm I think was my record.

I’ve been trying to enjoy the bits of sunshine we’ve had and keep up with writing my new book. I hope that you’ve been enjoying the sunshine.

I said I’d let you know how my change for life was doing. Well, I’m disappointed to have to tell you that even after all the exercise and changes in diet, I have only lost ½ lb this past month. I have still to eat less or exercise more, or both. Of course I am not putting weight on and after a lifetime of always putting it on, I should be much relieved and comforted, but I’m not. One of the things, I have been advised to do by cheeky Helen (sexy Linda was away on holiday last time so I had to tolerate cheeky Helen), is cut out the potato from my salad and have 1 only slice of multi-grain bread. Now that is no big sacrifice, is it? I used to keep going back for more servings of those beautiful new potatoes. I’m going to give it a try and keep up with everything else and see if I can’t continue to lose significant weight. I expect to see sexy Linda next week on June 27th. I’ll be weighed again then, and I’ll tell you how I get on.

I hear two libraries are to close in Rotherham. It will only make a tiny difference to my earnings, but I am still sad to think of the people (particularly young people) there denied the opportunity to access the information, entertainment and the development of their dreams and imagination presented by books. It is so much richer than the pornography and rubbish promoted on tv and on the internet. I hope the government are not breeding gangs of unimaginative morons.

My latest Angel book, THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS, was chosen as the book of the week in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus on 25th May. Very kind of them.  

My next new Angel book, THE DIAMOND ROSARY MURDERS is still on track to be published in hardback in December.

THE SNUFFBOX MURDERS is now on Kindle and other electronic readers
will be published on Kindle and other electronic readers in October.

Thank you for your emails. I have replied to everybody. Always pleased to have your comments on my books and crime writing generally.
Have a great summer, and enjoy your reading.

Friday, May 4th 2012

Hello there …

I saw sexy Linda last week. For readers not familiar with this column, she is a Barnsley NHS specialist on how to lose weight for life and stay healthy. She weighed me, and I was greatly disappointed by only losing 1 lb in 8 weeks. One miserable pound! Linda took on a more optimistic attitude and said that the rate of my loss could not go on forever, and that as I came within reach of my target weight, it was bound to be more difficult. We looked at my physical activity regime and diet in detail, and concluded that I was eating all the right foods in the appropriate proportions, but I was eating too much of them. I need to reduce the size of the portions. Now that made me think. Up to now the course had not been too demanding, but I thought cutting down the portions definitely would be. Accordingly sexy Linda said I should carry on, try to reduce the portions, but be consoled with the fact that I was still on a very healthy downward trend. I am due to be weighed in two months time. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I have some good news. Following the success of the sales of THE SNUFFBOX MURDERS published last November on Kindle, and other electronic readers, five more titles - all Angel books - are to be published electronically, in October next.

They are

That is good news for all those readers who have contacted me wanting to read my stuff in eBook form.

Of course, although some titles in printed hardback are sold out and are in the process of being reprinted, most of my books are still available. If you have any difficulty in getting a particular title in hardback, send me an email and I’ll try to help. Of course, my latest Angel book, THE DIAMOND ROSARY MURDERS is on track to be published in hardback in December 2012 or January 2013.

Come back soon if you can put up with the meanderings of an old writer.
Enjoy your reading.
Monday, April 16th 2012

Welcome back…

The good news is that my new book has been accepted for publication by Hales. I’ve changed the title to THE DIAMOND ROSARY MURDERS. It seemed to be more appropriate. It will be published later this year.

Since I last wrote you, THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS has been published and is now being delivered to shops and libraries everywhere. It’s another Angel book, of course, and probably the best I’ve ever written. It really tests Angel’s skills as a detective.

As there are now 18 different books in the Inspector Angel series, some readers wonder if the books should be read in a particular order. I am pleased to say that the books are a series rather than a serial. Each book is a separate story. It has a beginning, a middle and an end, and the titles can be read in any order.

Well, it’s more than a year since Liz Taylor died. Doesn’t time fly? And Easter whizzed by. It was here and gone before I had chance to put the clocks back an hour. Incidentally, I think it’s time we stopped this clock changing business. I’m not sure who it is supposed to benefit. It’s probably the clock and watchmaking industry who have to repair all the clocks and watches we mess up making the changes twice a year.

I’m itching to get started on another book, but the queen says I have to catch up with all the jobs I pushed to one side while I was writing the last one. She does have a point. Because when I do start I don’t want to leave it. I have a few ideas bubbling around in my head.

I have to sort out the difficult business of offering titles in eBook form, so that they can be read by Kindles and other electronic means. The only title I have out in that form is THE SNUFFBOX MURDERS. Of course, my new titles will firstly be offered printed in hardback, but there are many readers wanting to read my stuff in eBook form. So I have to work that out.

Hope to see you somewhere soon.
Enjoy your reading.
Wednesday, March 22nd 2012

There you are…

I went to the luncheon of the Crime Writers’ Association the other day and had a great time.
Saw a few old friends including Peter N Walker, publicly known as Nicholas Rhea, who wrote the ‘Heartbeat’ books. I’ve known him more than thirty years. He never changes. Lovely man. Also I met a new member, a young woman who lives only eight miles from me in Thurnscoe. She is writing her heart out. Her name is Ricki Thomas. Watch out for her. I think she’s going places.
The meal was good and the conversation rich and congenial, but nobody seemed to have an opinion about the introduction of eBooks into the business. Everybody it seems is simply prepared ‘to wait and see’ how it affects them.
Sadly, there were a lot of tributes to our good friend Reginald Hill who created the brilliant Pascoe and Dalziel series of novels. He died last month at 75 after a battle with cancer.

I hear from the eBook publishers of THE SNUFFBOX MURDERS that it is going well. I must think about putting some of my other titles out there in Kindle land.

Hales, my publishers have published an article I wrote for WRITING NEWS, titled ‘How to plot a thriller.’ If you’d like to have a go at writing one and/or you want to read it, email me at angeldetective@uwclub.net and I'll send you a copy.

I must say I am getting all excited in anticipation of the publication of THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS, which is being published in hardback a week on Friday, March 30th. It’s another Angel book, and probably the best I have ever written. It really tests Angel’s skills as a detective.

I’m itching to get started on another book, but my wife says I have to catch up with all the jobs I pushed to one side while I was writing the last one. She does have a point. Because when I do start I can hardly leave it alone. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard what the publisher’s think to 'The Mannequin Murder.' I’ll let you know the verdict here, whatever it is.

Hope to see you somewhere soon.
Enjoy your reading.
Friday, March 9th 2012

Hello there...

I have just finished my latest Angel book. I hope you will like it. Of course it might be a few months before it appears in print. I haven’t submitted it yet, I have to print it off, number the pages and so on. I should be able to despatch it in a day or two.
This book has taken me longer to write than any other, I hope you will think it was worth it. The provisional title is THE MANNEQUIN MURDER, but I’m not quite sure about it, that so I might change it.
I am going to the annual dinner on Sunday next of the Crime Writers’ Association. I might pick up an idea or two there. It’s a great pleasure to meet old friends, some great writers, interesting policemen, detectives and occasionally a forthcoming pathologist who always has something useful to tell me.

Just received fresh off the press my copy of THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS, which is to be published on March 30th. I must say there’s nothing quite like holding a new hardback book in your hands, opening it and smelling that unique blend of printer’s ink and paper. You know it’s a proper book. Not something ephemeral on a screen that might suddenly vanish. I am not against eBooks. I have a title on line now, at Amazon’s, Waterstones, W H Smith, Tescos, appropriate for Kindle and other eBook readers, called THE SNUFFBOX MURDERS, which I am told is doing well. And I am grateful for that. But I will always treasure the lovely books in my library. They’ve all a history, how I came by them, who bought them for me or where I bought them myself and so on.
It would be interesting to hear what you think about new books, hardbacks or eBooks. If you have a strong opinion one way or the other, let me know. I might include it in my next blog here. You can always contact me at angeldetective@uwclub.net.
Hope to see you somewhere soon.
Enjoy your reading,
Thanks for looking in.
Thursday, January 19th 2012

There you are.

Just a quickie to let you know that I have really done well with my weight loss. I have lost 3 stones since July 2010. Although now, I am only losing ½ lb a week, sexy Linda points out that that is 2 stones a year, if I can keep it up. That’s right. But of course, my writing is suffering. Even if I write in the night and early hours, which I do sometimes, it is hard to get in everything I want to do. It's imopossible to get everything you want, isn't it? I'm really very lucky.

Last week, there was a piece in the local paper, The Barnsley Chronicle, about my weight loss, and a photograph of me in the gym on a press up machine. I look like a demented dwarf. But the narrative was complimentary, essentially saying how well my weight loss campaign was progressing.

Rony Robinson at BBC Radio Sheffield is interviewing me for a series ‘Turning Point’ which will be broadcast live on Tuesday next, January 24th at 10.35 am. It’s about the important events in my life. It will be mostly about writing and subsequently getting published. If you are at a loose end, have a listen.

I am still wrestling with my book, and pleased so far. I hope that you think it is Angel at his best. I am now about ¾ of the way through. I should finish it by April. That’s only seven months late. Shh! Don’t tell the publishers.

Well, I’d better get back to writing it.

Thank you for looking in.