Some thoughts at Halloween…

Halloween, or the eve of All Hallows (All Saints Day), would appear to be something to do with the Christian religion but nothing could be further from the truth. It is, in fact, a vestige of the old Irish pagan religion and celebrates the feast of Samhain. Samhain is ancient and, with Beltane, was one of the most important festivals in the Celtic year.

At Samhain, people would celebrate the harvest and they would feast and light fires to acknowledge the coming of winter. They also believed that it was a very special time when this world and the spirit world could touch each other. Spirits and fairies known the Aos Si could pass freely into this world and roam around. They also believed that their ancestors could rise from the dead and they would even lay places at their tables for the dead.

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What 2022 might have in store…

With a brand New Year having arrived all too quickly, I’ve been thinking about what might be happening in 2022 with regard to my books. I’ve now written twelve Mac Maguire mysteries and the thirteenth is about a third of the way there. This one will be set at Christmas and a Mac Maguire book set during the festive season is something that I’ve been trying to achieve for quite a while. In order to ensure that I succeed this time, I will continue writing this book during the early part of the year and will hopefully have it completed by June or July. If my plan works out then I should have no problem in publishing it in the run-up to next Christmas.

Does that mean that I will only be publishing only one book this year then? No.

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Just published – The Blood Moon Murders

The twelfth Mac Maguire mystery has now been published. This one is a little different to the other eleven is that it has a supernatural element to it. I’ve always loved ghost stories and I’ve been looking for a way that I might incorporate this into a Mac Maguire story for some time. Finally, the idea came to me and so I’ve run with it.

I hope that fans of the series won’t be too thrown by this as the book is still very much a crime mystery. However, it’s also my hope that the new added supernatural aspects might just make it a little bit different and in a good way. I’m also aware that Halloween is upon us and so I’m delighted to get it published just in time for the occasion.

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Coming soon – The Blood Moon Murders

Mac Maguire’s twelfth outing – The Blood Moon Murders – is a little different to the others. You might get a clue what this difference is through the dedication – ‘For Halloween, ghost stories and things that go bump in the night.’

I have long been an admirer of M. R. James and his ability to put ghostly goings-on right into the workaday world. I’d guess that it was the title that first gave me the idea that this might be my chance to incorporate a supernatural thread into a murder mystery. That and the fact that the book should be ready to be published around Halloween.

As you can guess from the title the murders take place during an eclipse of the Moon by the Earth. I witnessed a really good one some years ago and the effect of the moon darkening and then glowing red with the light that had made it through the Earth’s atmosphere is a really eerie experience. It was easy to see why ancient peoples saw this as a harbinger of change and even doom.

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Just published – The Black Vaults Experiment

book coverI’ve just published my latest book The Black Vaults Experiment.

Here’s the blurb –

‘Renovation work at a large Victorian pub called the Black Vaults is halted as the builders walk out after saying that the pub is haunted. In desperation the owners call in Martin Jorgensen, a young Professor of Anomalistic Psychology, who sees this as a chance to test his pet theory. Together with his assistant and four student volunteers he spends two nights at the pub as part of an experiment in the hope that he’ll be able to record some real paranormal activity. However they get far more than they bargained for as the Black Vaults is full of frightening surprises and, sooner or later, they will all have to face down their own ghosts. It will be an experience that will change all of their lives forever.’ Continue reading

Ghosts, Christmas and Mac Maguire

I’d first of all like to wish all of my readers who observe it a very Happy Christmas and to those who don’t Happy Holidays anyway.

I am something of a Christmas nut. My lovely partner Kathleen, being normal, is not quite as enthusiastic as I am. I insist on having a ceremony on the 6th December, when we put the decorations up, and again on the 6th January when they get taken down as well as celebrating every day in between. I also insist on cluttering up her living room window with electric Santas, snowmen and sleighs as well as covering every inch of the walls with decorations. She bears it all with good grace however.

Marley's ghostA large part of my love for Christmas comes from Charles Dickens and, if I was honest, I’d have to admit that I consider A Christmas Carol just about the greatest work of fiction ever written. It’s a perfect little gem of a book and one I read again every Christmas. The whole thrust of the book is that it is possible for someone to be reclaimed from being a miserable old miser and turned into a caring human being solely by being made to remember everything about his past. This thought is compelling. We often forget what’s painful for us even if it’s the part that makes us human. A Christmas Carol tells us that there is hope, even for the worst of us. Continue reading

Why write ghost stories?

13ghostMy latest book 13 Ghosts of Winter was a new departure for me. My previous books were all detective stories featuring the same character Mac Maguire. So why such a change of direction from crime novels to a book containing thirteen original tales of the supernatural?

I’ve always loved ghost stories ever since I’ve been young and I pretty much read everything that was even remotely supernatural that our local library held by the time I was eleven. There’s a bit in my detective novel The Dead Squirrel where Mac goes into a library for the first time in quite a while and the smell of the books brings back memories –

‘It immediately brought him back in time to the red-bricked Victorian palace of a library he’d almost lived in when he was young. Ghost stories had been his favourite back then. He remembered reading them aloud to his friends by a flickering candle in the gang’s hideout, in reality his father’s garden shed, and nearly scaring each other to death.’  Continue reading