Archive for July, 2013

Diabolical Book Launch

Posted: July 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

Tomorrow (July 31st) I am launching my novel ‘City of Devils’ at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Portsmouth. It is a joint launch with my fellow local author and ‘Victorian devil’ William Sutton whose book ‘Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square’ also comes out on Aug 1st. The launch will take place at 4.30 to 6.30 and will involve themed nibbles, fizz, books available for purchase (and signing) and some readings. So come along, meet Will and I
and join us in our celebration. Hope to see you there!

It was all so understated. No wigs, no bands, no grandstanding by the lawyers and yet it was still riveting. The Prosecutor did his job quietly, efficiently and oh so effectively. The Defence advocate provided us with an alternative suspect and cross examined him tenaciously in the hope of providing the jury with the reasonable doubt they needed to acquit.
But this was no courtroom drama in the traditional sense because the participants were real, as were the consequences. A man was on trial for the murder of his wife. There was no body so the evidence was circumstantial; but would it be enough to convict?
Despite the sober way in which this case was presented to us as an audience, there was still, to my mind, an element of voyeurism. This was put forward as an opportunity to witness the criminal courts in action but it was still edited in such a way as to provide entertainment and that felt wrong, somehow. The victim’s family were interviewed, their grief on show for us to watch. The daughter of both victim and the accused was asked about how she felt. It was clear she could not accept even the possibility of her father’s involvement in the death of her mother, and who could blame her?
Despite the claims that this was to educate and inform us, it was edited in such a way as to maximise its entertainment value. The question is whether or not that is acceptable.
There are moves afoot to televise trials in England. Again this is said to be for the sake of educating us about the legal system. But such programmes will require editing and that is where the problems may lie.
In the US there is sometimes live coverage but usually the material is edited so only the highlights are shown. There are interviews and commentaries which would not be permitted in this country due to the Contempt of Court Act. The question for us in the UK though is not so much how it would be done, but whether or not it should be done at all. Is it right to be ‘entertained’ by the plight of others? Are we just using education as a cover for our own prurience? These are the questions that need to be answered before trials appear on the television. Somehow I don’t think they will be.

Think that Fairy Tales are just for kids? Think again. Come and hear some of the up- dated variety performed by me and fellow local authors at this brilliant event this Friday July 12th at Grange Farm, Gosport.
http://gosporteverafter.eventbrite.co.uk/
Fairy tales don’t always end happily ever after!

I’ve just returned from a research trip to this fascinating city. (Thanks to Lesley Reeves at Southsea Travel for organising it.) Every time I go there I find something new to marvel at. Here are five ‘magical’ facts about the place that you may not be aware of.
One: The city forms part of two triangles: the white magic triangle with Lyon and Prague and the black magic version with London and San Francisco. In the novel there is one fairly obvious reference to this but I wonder if you can find the second one, hidden in the text.
Two: The city is reputed to be the location of the gates of Hell itself. They are said to be found beneath a statue (see the cover and the beginning of the book) located in the Piazza Statuto. Here, many years ago the Romans would execute their condemned and bury them. Later it was the site of Turin’s Gallows. In the novel…let’s just say they live up to their name for one person.
Three: Don’t tell Dan Brown but the Holy Grail is supposed to be buried in the city, beneath the Chiesa Gran Madre di Dio. In front of the Church can be found a couple of statues, Faith and Religion, which are said to be connected to the prophecies of one of the city’s famous former residents, Nostradamus.
Four: Not only can you find your way to Hell here but if you look carefully you can also find your way to infinity, the door to which is located beneath the Angelica Fountain in the Piazza Solferino.
Five: Another door – this time allegedly created by the Devil. This large wooden door with its ornate carvings can be found in the Via XX Settembre. It appeared overnight in 1675 and is said to be Satan’s own handiwork.
This is just a selection of spooky locations in this atmospheric city…but there are a whole host of other things. It really is a great place to visit.