The Best of Books

I've been invited to join an event to celebrate World Book Night in April.  It's an honour, but has also set the old Hall brain stumbling and stuttering into action, because some thinking is required.

This is why - I've been asked to talk about my favourite children's book, the book which has influenced me the most, and my guilty pleasure (of a reading nature, I assume, or hope.)

Good questions... and ones which set me ruminating on the place that books have had in my life.

In the tvdetective series, it's Claire who tends to read more than Dan,... Read more

The art of interviewing

I was interviewed this week about the tvdetective books and my work as a journalist, and one particularly thoughtful and resonant question came up - what's the secret of carrying out an effective interview?

It certainly made me think, as I suppose it's something I do more or less instinctively now.

Well, part of the answer can be found in that original question.  It's a clever one, because it's open ended, gives scope for a whole range of responses, and it's short and sharp. I've seen far too many interviews where the questions are long and rambling, and it's... Read more

Cash for questions, and to music

I must be in a whimsical mood.  That's one of the more curious titles for a bout of my ramblings.  Standby, I shall explain - or try to.

I haven't answered a reader's question for a while, so I thought I'd tackle a couple in one rant. 

The more substantive of the two is about money.  My correspondent perceptively notes that the tvdetective books contain few references to money and it's hardly used as a motive, when in the real world it's a very common one in crimes.

She goes on to ask why that may be? Which, as... Read more

The Spectre of Time

Having a birthday fall this month, I've been doing a little musing on the issue of time.

It's something which has always bothered me.  I often blame the childhood Saturdays of being terrified by Dr Who (Tom Baker was mine) for my fixation with time.  But be that as it may, it's never let me go.

It was a few years ago, perhaps just after I turned 40 that I started to feel truly mortal for the first time. I couldn't run as fast as I used to, stay up as late as I did, all that stuff which is... Read more

The Love Thing

As I'm in a frivolous mood, I thought I'd start this musing with an aside.

Wow!  How creative and crazy am I?!  Or yes, perhaps just daft.  But anyhow, the aside is - what a sweeping title for a blog.  I just hope the rest of the rant can live up to it...

So then, love.  Well, I was prompted by the passing of Valentine's Day to think about the issue of love in my scribblings.  And I suppose I've come to the conclusion I never really got the hang of it.

Even we bloodthirsty and nasty crime... Read more


I love the old saying "it's not as easy as it looks". It's come to mind this morning, as I've certainly been bearing it out this week with my foray into acting.

I did promise faithfully I wouldn't take a part in An Unnecessary Murder, much to the relief of very many people. But, I was told, if I did it'd be good for the play's profile, and jolly fun, and also encouraging for the cast and all concerned to have me there, so I relented.

Quick aside (you knew it was coming) - in truth, as a chap who... Read more