“Ask Me Now” At Last, At Last …


After much preamble, the “These Seven” booklet of Nottingham writing, detailed above, which includes a brand new story of mine, entitled Ask Me Now, is generally available …

Here’s a flavour of the story, how it begins  …

Tom Whitemore’s father left him a set of golf clubs he had yet to use, a collection of the maritime novels of Patrick O’Brian, and an abiding love of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington …

In contrast, all Whitemore’s wife had left him, the day she drove off to her parents in Chapel St. Leonard’s, taking the twins, was a note propped against the burned-out toaster in the kitchen.

“I’m sorry, Tom, I can’t take it any more. I just can’t …”

That had been six years ago. His father had been dead for ten. Whitemore was still in the same house, a lodger upstairs in the twins’ room Monday to Friday, and he was still doing the same job – the one his wife had hated – detective sergeant in the Public Protection Team: domestic violence, hate crime, serious sexual abuse, assault.

“Scum, Tom, that’s what they are. Who you spend your days and nights with. Scum of the           earth and then you bring them home to us.”

She turned aside from his face, flinched at his touch. Flinched when he held one or other of the twins in his arms, helped them to undress, softly kissed the tops of their heads, ran the flannel across them in the bath.

“I’m sorry, Tom …”


Details of how to get hold of a copy are listed above. All the contributions are well worth reading – the Alan Sillitoe is a beaut – and it’s worth making the effort. And it is only three quid!!!




These Seven …

IMG_0028This coming Saturday, June 27th, sees the public launch of the above collection, published by Five Leaves as the centrepiece of Nottingham’s Big City Read and Write project and featuring the work of seven writers – well, one is actually a cartoonist – with strong Nottingham connections. Alan Sillitoe’s contribution aside, all of the pieces featured are new and published here for the first time, the whole shebang yours at the almost giveaway price of £3.00. Incredible!

Here’s the blurb …

These Seven Nottingham writers cover a lot of ground.
John Harvey visits his traditional world of crime with a story more domestic than usual, Megan Taylor spends time in Old Market Square waiting for someone whose arrival might change her life, graphic novelist Brick imagines a Nottingham version of Simeon the Stylite living at the top of the Aspire sculpture, Paula Rawsthorne finds that being a child of a refugee brings its own problems, and Alison Moore realises that a weekend away is not always idyllic. Meantime Shreya Sen Handley’s Indian family discovers something going on at the bottom of their garden, and Alan Sillitoe is back on the streets of Nottingham, where this all began.

Saturday’s event is being held between 2.00 – 3.00pm in the Methodist Chapel, Main Street, Lowdham, as part of this year’s Lowdham Book Festival, and six of the authors will be present, with a mystery guest presenting Alan Sillitoe’s contribution. If you’re anywhere in the Nottingham area, come along and sample the fun. Details: http://www.lowdhambookfestival.co.uk

More – probably – about my own story later, but for now suffice to say that it’s called “Ask Me Now”, is set in the city of Nottingham, and features Tom Whitemore, a detective sergeant attached to the Public Protection Team, whose previous appearance was in “Sack O’ Woe”,  one of a collection of short stories about the police edited by Michael Connelly under the title The Blue Religion.


Charlie Resnick’s Beginnings

A week ago now, as part of the Derby Book Festival, I was at Mickleover Library, taking an amble through the beginnings of the Charlie Resnick series, beginning with Lonely Hearts and finishing, as it did last year, with Darkness, Darkness. Along with answering questions as well as I could – and there were a good many – I read from both of those books, starting with Charlie’s first ever appearance, one of the cats sitting on his head as awakes, and ending with his attendance at the funeral of a former miner, both friend and one time foe.

Beginning to end, 1989 to 2014, and, for Charlie, on the surface anyway, not a great deal seemed to have changed. At the end, he’s not so very different to how he began …

He was an overweight man in his early forties, whose narrow eyes were bagged and tired, and who couldn’t find the time to drop his tie off at the cleaners.

… just older.

If only to remind me of those far off days when, as a teacher, I would ask whoever was sitting at the end of a row, to pass along the handouts to their colleagues, I did the same here – the handout at attempt to show the principle influences that went into Resnick’s creation.

Scan 1


Social Realism to the right, Police Procedurals to the left …

Any questions on a postcard – or the contemporary equivalent.