First Blackshirt Reviews

I was pleased by Windy Tree’s five-star review of Blackshirt Masquerade, which catches the essence of what I intended to write.

“I liked this a lot…it was a pleasure to read…I have seen it listed as a ‘historical mystery’ elsewhere, and it certainly is historical, with espionage (MI5) and a good dash of detectiveness thrown in for good measure. The ‘Disgraced army officer Hugh Clifton’ character is immediately likeable, I did initially wonder if it would be a nod to another fictional ex-officer named ‘Hugh’, but nothing alike…and thankfully his eventual paramour is not a simple empty-headed character and instead plays a good supporting role, as do the other characters. It does mention historical facts as they develop in story-land real time and are not simply regurgitated to fill a page, which when done too much can drown a good story with ‘oh look I read a history book’ dry facts, here they are relevant to the story as it happens along and it feels natural and well done.

A big plus for me was that it didn’t fall into the trap (of which I have read in other recent historical period fiction) of using opinions or behaviours from our time to ‘voice’ a character in the book. Nothing worse when that happens as it can spoil the historical flow of the dialogue and inter-actions. This book feels comfortable and sympathetic to the times.

Personally, if your reading choices have previously included the likes of Buchan, Beeding, Wilson, and more recently Lyall, then this book will appeal to you. Definitely worthy of your reading time.”

Two more review articles have appeared online, including on the Big Thrill webpage. In the April Edition of Mystery People (which is a subscription e-zine) I have a piece on Twisting history. Paul Gitsham invited me to contribute to his Tuesday Tips page, on which I explain my ‘filleted fish’ approach to a first draft. There’s also a short piece on my study in the Daily Grind section of Case Files 55.

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