Sources: The Blackshirts

Blackshirt Masquerade is historical fiction, so required a fair amount of research before it could be plotted, and then top-up research whilst drafts were in progress. It is set in 1935 when Hugh Clifton is persuaded by MI5 to infiltrate Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. Much of the action and intrigue takes place... Continue Reading →

Avoiding Writing Disasters

All too often, angst-ridden writers post about how they have lost or messed up their work in progress. Surprisingly this includes traditionally published authors with many books behind them; laptops are stolen, manuscripts are corrupted or deleted in their entirety. The writer’s biggest crisis is losing an entire book ­– the modern equivalent of leaving... Continue Reading →

Are You a Writer or an Author?

Plenty of bloggers have by now reported on the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival that took place in Harrogate at the end of July. The huge airy marquee gave it a different feel to pre-pandemic years, but the panels were as engaging as ever. One idea stuck with me; the difference between being a... Continue Reading →

Department Z – Britain’s Gestapo?

‘Department Z? That sounds very mysterious.’ ‘Intelligence section,’ Parker said. ‘We identify threats and hunt down traitors.’ ‘Traitors? And what happens to them?’ Although Blackshirt Masquerade is fiction, Department Z really existed. The British Union of Fascists was established in late 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley and grew rapidly in both support and ambition over... Continue Reading →

Crimefest is Back!

Yes Crimefest is back! After having been cancelled twice due to covid, a big question mark hung over the Bristol crime extravaganza’s future. Many attendees rolled our 2020 tickets over to keep supporting the team, and Specsavers stepped in to ensure it could go ahead this year. Attending three days of panels, choosing between two... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

Launch Week!

It's launch week for Blackshirt Masquerade, which has entailed a flurry of social media posts, blogging and cross-sharing. A key part of the launch was giving a talk at the Alderney Literary Festival entitled 'Was British Fascism Doomed to Fail?' Given that Hugh Clifton's undercover work aims to thwart the fascists, his success seems pre-ordained... Continue Reading →

Blackshirt Masquerade

Blackshirt Masquerade is the first of a series of novels set in 1930s Britain under the shadow of fascism. Perhaps this is not the right time to read about dark episodes in our past, but perhaps this might be exactly the right time to re-learn the lesson of the chaos and suffering that a man... Continue Reading →

New Crime Collection

The exciting news this week is that I've had a short story accepted for the Crime Writer's Association anthology Music of the Night edited by Martin Edwards. The CWA has published an anthology most years since its foundation in 1956 and it's an honour to be published alongside two dozen leading crime writers. All the... Continue Reading →

Writers Unlocked

It felt like a return to normality, a real live crime writing conference with actual live authors. Zoom conferences never did it for me – I’d quickly drift off, or busy myself doing something else whilst my camera was off. This July saw the welcome return of the Theakeston’s Crime Writing Festival at the Old... Continue Reading →

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