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Indecency by the pool

Newsletter: September 2017

Dear Web friends

Greetings again to you and your glorious life!

But without further ado, and to calm awkwardness, let me explain my current hesitance.

In his forward to The Dark Tower, Stephen King, a man of some skill and enormous sales figures, writes: ‘Most of what writers write about their work is ill-informed bullshit. This is why you’ve never seen a book entitled One Hundred Great Introductions of Western Civilisation or Best Loved Forewords of the American People.

So you’ll understand if I’m a little hesitant about speaking of my latest book, thus adding to the bullshit; because, of course, King is right. Writers are those least fit and least able to comment intelligently on what they’ve done. Most of the time, they have no idea what they’ve done.

They tend, for instance, to regard their latest work as their finest work… when, by the law of averages, it rarely is. Musicians do the same with their latest albums. They always claim in pre-release interviews that they’ve finally found their true voice both in the song writing and production. Paul McCartney is still claiming his latest album is his best ever.


And so (hesitantly) to The Indecent Death of a Madam, the latest in the Abbot Peter murder mystery series… No. 5, in fact. The truth is, by the time a book appears, the author has re-written it so many times, they’ve lost all intelligent sense of it. That’s why they need reviews, positive and negative. They now need someone else to make sense of this creature, because they sure as hell can’t.

‘I like a bit of murder!’ said a middle-aged woman to me, lying on her sun bed by the pool. (I wasn’t lying on her sun bed, you understand. I was just passing and we got chatting.) She’s probably something very respectable at home, like a social worker or a speech therapist…or a bishop. ‘I like at least three murders,’ she added by way of clarification, as she rubbed in some more sun tan lotion on her arms. ‘Five’s too many.’

You may not like a bit of murder, it may not be your thing at all… though I hope there’s more to the Abbot Peter series than just the killings. But whatever you feel about the genre, here’s the book’s set-up, my elevator pitch while I’ve got your brief ear.

The Stormhaven Etiquette Society, a secretive affair, unafraid to name and shame those who trespass.

Model Services, the town’s only brothel, a discreet but busy presence in Church Street.

The Bybuckle Asylum, a desolate shell on the seafront that once housed 700 mental patients, prior to so-called ‘Care in the Community’.

What brings these three together is a cold-blooded execution that both shocks and confounds. For lying dead in the empty asylum, tied to an old metal bed frame, is a pillar of the establishment. Or is she?

Sleuthing couple DI Tamsin Shah and her clerical uncle join forces once again to solve a painful mystery that reveals awkward secrets from Abbot Peter’s student days.

Well, there’s the pitch. And with all the assurance of Paul McCartney, I can definitely say it’s my best book to date. I really feel I’ve found my voice, that finally, creatively-speaking, it has all come together etc etc blah blah blah…

So for those down by the pool, who do like a bit of murder, click here…

Or, if you prefer to buy books from the more independent, the more tax-paying, the more beautiful booksellers…

In the meantime, crashing the gears like a learner in a Land Rover, I’m hosting a mindfulness retreat in Devon, at Sheldon, in November this year. It’s called The Mindful Way. It’s for both beginners and gurus, (the two are the same) and more details of the four days can be found here…

It may be dark and wild on the edge of Dartmoor, so far from the madding crowd; but it will also be warm and wonderful.

For now, though, as the winds chill a little, I wish you warm and wonderful whatever you do; and the home fires of the heart burning…

Until soon

Simon x

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