‘A marvellous entry in this excellent series, one of those books that  you have to keep reading but hate to finish. Highly recommended.’ [Stage Fright]


L C Tyler is my guest

Posted on Sep 29, 2014 in Crooked Herring, L. C. Tyler, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

 Of  the sub-genres of crime fiction, I think comedy is the hardest to pull off, but Len Tyler succeeds triumphantly. The Ethelred and Elsie series is one of the very best. It began with The Herring Seller’s Apprentice and the fifth has just come out. I began by asking Len to tell us something about […]

Be afraid . . . be very afraid

Posted on Sep 26, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Books that have really scared you do tend to stick in the mind. When I was nine or ten I got hold of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. ‘The Engineer’s Thumb’ gave me pause for thought, but ‘The Speckled Band’ frightened me so much that I couldn’t finish the book. I have read them many […]

Should I go on a Book Diet?

By that I don’t mean should I read fewer books, but should I stop buying them for a while. Should I have a book-free month in the way that some people have an alcohol-free month? I have an awful lot of books I haven’t read and I am adding to them all the time. There […]

The book that made me cry in the library

Posted on Sep 17, 2014 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

I’m I’m in Birmingham again at the wonderful Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. It’s the time of year that makes me think of new terms and new beginnings and I remembered arriving in Birmingham as a postgrad all those years ago. I had a couple of hours to spare so this afternoon I decided to hop on […]

Ten books that have stayed with me

A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Daniella, tagged me on Facebook. “List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. It is not about the ‘right’ book or great work of literature, just ones that have affected you in some […]

What people are reading on the train

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 in Foyles, Our Man in Havana | 4 Comments

Or. at least, what they were reading on the 17.34 from Victoria to Peckham yesterday. The young man sitting next to me was reading Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana. The one opposite was reading Murakawi’s 1Q84. The  young woman who got off the train in front of me was reading a Virago Modern Classic, […]

Sally Spedding is my guest

I first met Sally a number of years ago when we did an event together at Heffers in Cambridge. She writes stories that are very, very creepy. Her most recent novel, Malediction, is a noir thriller set in France. Her new book, How to Write a Chiller Thriller, explains some of the secrets of writing supernatural […]

A wonderful writer

The summer holidays are nearly over and it’s time to plan a visit to the London Library. Looking at my pile of library books, I realised that I hadn’t got very far into Sylvia Townsend Warner’s The Corner That Held Them. I’d got distracted and had forgotten about it. I decided it was worth trying […]