'The Day of the Jack Russell' - Bateman
I adored the first novel in this series about the 'Mystery Man' who runs a crime fiction bookshop cum private detective agency in Belfast. And I picked up this next book in the series for some light-reading and distraction.
Bateman does not disappoint. I got far, far more entertainment than I bargained for and had several uncontrollable, laugh-out-loud moments in embarrassing public places.
The un-named main character is a wonderful cross between Sherlock Holmes and the autistic, fifteen year-old narrator in Mark Haddon's The Curious incident of the dead dog in the night. Supported by his enthusiastic girlfriend, Alison, and his long-suffering shop assistant, Geoff, our book-loving hypochondriac solves the mysteries of a double murder and the disappearance of a stuffed Jack Russell dog. He outsmarts the drug dealers, the Ulster Constabulary and MI6, while neatly side-stepping all elements of personal danger and possible infection.
Bateman is an outstanding writer of comic novels - and he's pretty darned good at crime fiction too. A great combination. I can't wait to read the next one.
SECOND NOVEL TO BE PUBLISHED BY KRP
I am delighted to announce that my second novel, The Missing Heiress, will be published by Knox Robinson Publishing on December 6th 2012. It is the first in a new series of Regency mystery novels called The Detective Lavender Series.
Set in Northumberland 1809, The Missing Heiress is a spin-off novel from my first book and features two of the minor characters: Detective Stephen Lavender and his good-natured sidekick, Constable Woods. Their first case in the series takes them back to Northumberland to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful heiress.
Detective Stephen Lavender was a real historical figure. One of the first principal officers with the Bow Street magistrates court in London, he became the Deputy Chief Constable of Manchester after the formation of the police force by Sir Robert Peel. Landowner, Nathanial Ogle, called Detective Lavender up from London to solve the mystery of the Kirkley Hall Robbery in 1809 (the subject of Catching the Eagle. ) Ultimately, Lavender was the man who placed our ancestor in the dock. But we don’t hold that against him.
I loved creating the characters of Lavender and the comical Constable Woods when I wrote my first novel, and I quickly decided that that I didn't want to let them go. The strong personality of the intelligent detective became one of my favourite characters and the dialogue and rapport which developed between him and his fictional assistant was great fun to write. I felt that I had created a winning duo of crime fighters.
I’ve always enjoyed a good mystery. In fact, many years ago I wrote ‘Murder Mystery Weekends’ for Raven Hall Hotel and won a Yorkshire Tourist Board award for them. Last year, the first seeds of a plot for a whodunit began to germinate in my head. Before I knew it, I had a Regency mystery to solve and as far as I was concerned there were only two policemen in England who could crack this case. I sat down at the computer and The Missing Heiress was born.
Writing Heiress was fun. It slid off my keyboard like silk and I finished it in ten months. Because it is pure fiction, I never felt constrained by historical fact and it was an unfettered pleasure to write. I particularly enjoyed creating the female characters in The Missing Heiress. My first novel was dominated by men because the historical records decreed it so; they dominated the crime, the investigation and the ensuing court cases. In Heiress I created a diverse range of women from the delightful young maid, Anna; to the mysterious gypsy girl, Laurel Faa Geddes and the intelligent Katherine Armstrong. I loved breathing life into these women and hope that I gave them a significant voice in this book.
The Missing Heiress is already available to pre-order from amazon.
'Paperback writer, paperback writer.
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look? '
Guess which Beatles song keeps running around my head this morning?
Yes, it's happened. The paperback edition of Catching the Eagle is now available to buy on amazon and from The Book Depository, The Guisborough Bookshop and selected branches of Waterstones. Price £12.99.
The Daily Mail gave it the thumbs up back in January....why not take a look yourself?