A lovely email has arrived in my inbox, and it's so cute that I'd like to share it with you.

It comes from a chap who's just become a father (congratulations!)  He writes to thank me for the tvdetective books, as he tells me they've proved invaluable in the first days of parenthood.

This is how it goes - when it's his turn to get up in the midst of the night, he paints a picture of rocking the cradle with one hand, while reading one of the novels with the other.  And he's kind enough to say I'm helping... Read more


A very interesting email has been providing plenty of gunpowder for the fireworks of my thoughts.

It's fairly long, but in essence my correspondent's contention is this - that the tvdetective series is no more than a vehicle for the love story between Claire and Dan.

Now that's some claim, and so has required consideration aplenty in return. 

It's certainly true that Claire and Dan, and their various ups and downs, is the consistent sub plot in the series.  But I'd never before thought that it was so prominent in the books as to eclipse the other things going... Read more

Reawakening and intimidating

I get the feeling the world is stirring a little after the January hibernation.

This is purely an anecdotal thought of mine, based on the number of emails, comments and invitations which have been coming through.  There's been a sudden increase, as if people can sense the dreaded opening month of the year finally coming towards an end.

Now, one of the emails contains a most interesting, and a tad intimidating, request, which I had to read several times to make sure I'd understood correctly. 

It's from a magazine called Ariel, which is a BBC in house publication, but... Read more


My last blog, of the weekend, has attracted some interest - of a positive nature, I'm happy to say.  It sems plenty of you are fond of Dirty El and his antics too.  I'm delighted to hear it and will make sure I pass on your thoughts, next time I write about him!

A broader question that's come out of the little discussion is the role of humour in the tvdetective books.

I like to read crime novels myself, and have experienced plenty which are unremittingly bleak.  It's fair enough, sometimes there's little room for a laugh when you're... Read more

Dirty El

I receive a fair few emails about the characters in the tvdetective books, and as you'd expect most concern Dan and Adam.  But following that pairing, and not far behind in fact, comes Dirty El.

Interestingly with El, readers are nigh on unanimous in their love of the idiot.  Only a couple of times have I read adverse comments about what he's been up to, despite him probably being the naughtiest of the bunch (after the criminals, of course).

I can happily reveal that I too am an enormous fan of El.  I'm fond of all my characters in different... Read more

Summer holidays

What a sweet prospect, amidst the depths of dark January, as we are.

But - a thought for you about what sounds like a fun way of spending part of August, particularly if you're an aspiring writer.

I've been invited to spend a week at the Swanwick Writers' School in Derbyshire, as their resident crime bod, doing my best to pass on what little I know about being a crime author.  It's a kind and flattering offer, which I'll be delighted to take up.

I've said it before and I suspect I'll say it again, and probably many times. ... Read more


I'm not exactly a child of the internet age.  More the ZX Spectrum generation me when it comes to computing power and ability, if even that.

However, I do my best to keep up with current affairs, and so am aware of this smart and efficient new way to do a bit of campaigning on a theme which is important to you.  I'm talking here about either starting up a Facebook page, or putting a petition on the Downing Street website.

But one movement that I haven't seen anywhere - and a good idea, I reckon - would be... Read more

Tea and ideas

I was having a cup of tea earlier, when an odd thought struck me.

A while ago, at a talk, I was asked where my ideas for the tvdetective books come from. In reply, I said all the places you might expect - stories I've covered, court cases, newspapers, or simply pure and weird imagination.

I've just realised that was a partial answer, but by no means complete.  Another important element is where and when ideas strike.

For the last couple of days, a problem with the new book has been bothering me and I haven't seen an obvious way... Read more

Opening lines

As we're at the start of a new year, I thought the opening lines of books would be a good subject for this ramble.  Who says no thought goes into these blogs?!

It's something which has been on my mind of late, for a reason which will become apparent.

For me, the first line, or paragraph, is perhaps the most important part of a novel.  It's the one that sets the tone, tells you what kind of book you'll be reading, suggests what it's about, where it's going to take you, and all that in a matter of a... Read more