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This year has got off to a great start, with a marvellous trip to New York in January to give the "Distinguished Speaker Lecture" at the Yale Club to members of the Baker Street Irregulars, a venerable body which celebrates Sherlock's birthday each years with a host of glittering events. Really enjoyable.

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

I'm delighted that my book has been shortlisted for an Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction book of 2017. A real honour.

British Library anthologies

Blood on the Tracks, an anthology of railway mysteries, will be published by the British Library in March.

The CWA Short Story Dagger

My story "Murder and its Motives" from Motives for Murder (see below) was shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger 2017. I've been shortlisted five times for CWA Daggers, and won one a few years back.

The Poirot Award

I was thrilled to be awarded the Poirot Award at Malice Domestic in Washington DC in April for my contribution to the traditional mystery genre.

British Library Crime Classics

Some great titles are lined up for this year, including books by E.C.R. Lorac and Richard Hull, two of my favourites from the Golden Age./i>.

The Golden Age of Murder

The Golden Age of Murder has been published in paperback by Harper Collins. This book has, among other things, transformed my career as a writer. It received the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best critical/biographical work, the Agatha award from Malice Domestic, the Macavity award from Mystery Readers International, and the H.R.F. Keating award at Crimefest. For good measure, it was shortlisted for an Anthony award at Bouchercon and the CWA Gold Dagger for non-fiction. I've recently signed contracts for translations of the book into both Japanese and Chinese.

The Lake District Mysteries

It was great fun to talk to a party of visiting American crime fans at Grasmere in July. For all the good fortune that my work on Golden Age fiction has brought me, I remain first and foremost a crime novelist, and I'm heartened by the sales and reviews of my seventh Lake District Mystery, The Dungeon House. And the second, The Cipher Garden, has just earned a lovely review on Cleo Bannister's excellent book blog.

Library events

I was at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle in December, interviewing Ruth Dudley Edwards. I've arranged a host of library talks this year - details on the Events page.

Alibis in the Archives

The historic and wonderfully atmospheric Gladstone's Library was the setting for Alibis in the Archives in June, which launched the British Crime Writing Archives. The week-end was a sell-out and its success means that Alibis will return in June next year. Looking forward to it already...

The New Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

My collection of Sherlock Holmes stories is available as an ebook on Amazon. As well as the stories, the book includes various articles and a splendid introduction by leading Sherlockian David Stuart Davies. I've also contributed an introduction to a handsome, slip-cased edition of a selection of Sherlock's greateest cases, published by Arcturus.

Bad Friday and Lucky Liam

My story "Bad Friday" has been published in the US anthology "Busted!" while "Lucky Liam" has just appeared in EQMM.


My short story "Acknowledgments", winner of the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, is available from Bloomsbury Reader in (very modestly priced!) ebook, along with two other short stories of mine, an essay of mine about Allingham, and a kind introduction by Allingham's biographer, Julia Jones.

Truly Criminal

The lastest CWA anthology, Truly Criminal, is a collection of essays about real life crimes. Peter James has written an introduction to the book, which I have edited. I've also contributed an essay about Alred Rouse and the "Blazing Car Murder" of 1930.

The Return of Harry Devlin

Two of my novels, set in Liverpool and featuring Harry Devlin, have enjoyed a brand new life in paperback as "Crime Classics", published by Arcturus: these are All the Lonely People and Yesterday's Papers. The series has now been reissued as a 'Crime Classic', and it's great to see it back in the bookshops. Meanwhile, the special new editions of my Liverpool mysteries featuring Harry Devlin. have appeared. The ebook editions include a range of brand new features, such as a 'Making of' feature for each book, an appreciation by Michael Jecks, and introductions by some of the great names in modern British crime fiction, including Val McDermid, Frances Fyfield, Andrew Taylor and Peter Lovesey. More details on the Liverpool series page. I'm glad to say that print editions are also available again, after a long break.

Take My Breath Away and The Frozen Shroud

My psychological suspense novel, Take My Breath Away is now available as an ebook. Meanwhile, the sixth Lake District Mystery, The Frozen Shroud is now available in paperback and ebook as well as in hardback.

The Corpse Candle

My story "The Corpse Candle" appeared in the recent Malice Domestic anthology "Murder Most Historical".


I shall be attending Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto in October. If it's anything like as good as Bouchercon 2016 in New Orleans, we'll all have a great time. <

TV, DVD and Film viewing

I am enjoying ITV's The Loch, and films I've enjoyed recently include Allied, and several old movies which have cropped up on the Talking Pictures TV channel.

New Reading

I enjoyed Kate Ellis', A High Mortality of Doves. Among the older novels I've read recently are The Little Walls, by Winston Graham, and The Lyttleton Case by R.A.V. Morris. "Forgotten books" feature on my blog each Friday.

True Crime

I've enjoyed reading several books of essays on true crime recently. This is an under-rated branch of crime writing.

Collecting Crime Fiction

I've acquired several fascinating inscribed books, including a few from the collection of the late Bob Adey, which I'm featuring in the Friday's Forgotten Book feature on my blog.

Writing about crime fiction

I've recently published articles about Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories, Anthony Berkeley's short fiction, and Gilbert Adair, and I'm currently working on another genre-related article.


I've continued to revamp the site, and very much welcome any constructive suggestions from readers.

This page was last updated on 3 February 2018.