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‘Stevyn Colgan bestrides the territory of English rural comedy, one foot on the throat of Joanna Trollope, the other knocking the bonnet of Miss Marple off her silver head.’ - STEPHEN FRY
How do you solve a murder when hundreds of wannabe detectives all have the same goal?
Every year, fans from all over the world descend upon a tiny picturesque English village to celebrate the life of the enigmatic author Agnes Crabbe and her fictional lady detective, Miss Millicent Cutter.
Crabbe fans are quite obsessive; the majority turn up to the festival dressed as Miss Cutter. Spats between rival fan clubs are not uncommon. But when one of the most prominent superfans is murdered on the first day of the festival, the police find themselves trying to solve a crime in which the victim, witnesses, almost everyone in the village, and even the murderer, are all dressed as Miss Cutter. And most of them are also trying to solve the murder …
In this darkly comic farce, the worlds of classic detective fiction and real-life homicide investigation come crashing together with hilarious and occasionally messy results.
Stevyn Colgan spent 30 years as a police officer. But now he’s one of the writers of the award-winning TV show QI and its sister show on BBC Radio 4, The Museum of Curiosity. In A Murder To Die For, he brings his sense of humour and his policing experience together to create something that is definitely not your average murder mystery.
Savidge didn’t start the fight, at least not directly. The first sputtering fuse had actually been lit by a sozzled member of the late Denise Hatman-Temples’ Agnes Crabbe Society suggesting to an equally intoxicated member of the equally late Gaynor Nithercott’s Agnes Crabbe Book Club that the latter was responsible for the death of the former.
“Why was she still driving?” snapped the lady from the Agnes Crabbe Society. “She was nearly blind for goodness’ sake.”
“Her eyesight was obviously good enough for the DVLA”, said the lady from the Agnes Crabbe Book Club.
- 3rd May 2019 Time's up! (nearly)
The final edit and proofread is complete.
The cover is looking gorgeous.
Cover quotes have come in from the likes of Matt Lucas, Alex Horne, Iain Pattison (writer of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue) and more.
And we're 110% funded.
THE DIABOLICAL CLUB is GO!
So, this is your LAST chance to pledge (if you haven't already) and get your hands on a paperback AND get your name listed in the…6th April 2019 Under the Covers
The Diabolical Club has a cover!
(Ignore the quotes - they're from A Murder To Die For and only there as a placeholder. New cover quotes are incoming.)
Yes indeed! The sequel to A Murder To Die For is published on July 11th and, once again, the cover is by the amazing Neil Gower who has mirrored the previous book's design.
While A Murder To Die For took place in May (hence the Spring…20th January 2019 Fancy a Bonus?
Hello all you lovely, lovely people who subscribed to A Murder To Die For and helped to make it a reality. Are you well? You look great! :)
Now then. I know that many of you have subscribed for the sequel, The Diabolical Club. But, if you haven't, time is running out to get your name in the book. It's been through the first wave of edits and will soon be ready for typesetting and layout prior to…7th September 2018 Watch this space
Hello splendid supporters
August zoomed by didn't it? Heatwaves and holidays. I spent some of it in the Outer Hebrides, which was nice as it was cooler than down South while still sunny and warm. You can see some photos from the trip on my blog here, And it was fantastic to see A Murder To Die For nominated for two awards (shortlisted for the Dead Good Awards and longlisted for The Guardian's …30th July 2018 Here we go again!
Blimey chums! Just as I'm getting over the excitement of making he shortlist for the DEAD GOOD READERS AWARDS 2018, I now discover that A MURDER TO DIE FOR has made the longlist for the GUARDIAN's NOT THE BOOKER Prize!
So now I have to ask you all over again to vote for me!
The thing is ... YOU made this book happen. It was your belief in me and the book, and your kind pledges that got …22nd July 2018 Close but Not Quite!
Ah well, A Murder To Die For didn't win at the Dead Good Readers Awards in Harrogate this year. But it was shortlisted and was a runner-up. And I'm happy to take that. It was pretty humbling to have been nominated in the first place for a first novel. And, to be honest, it would have been a minor miracle if I had won, considering the well-publicised and bestselling contenders that I was up against…6th July 2018 Murder She Wrote ... Badly
I'm a fan of Jessica Fletcher and I don't mind admitting it. I've seen every episode of Murder She Wrote several times (including the four TV movies) and I love it. It's cosy, silly nonsense. Pure entertainment.
The shows are constantly on repeat on TV and, just recently, one of the ITV channels has started showing the later series; you can tell that they're later because the opening titles feature…27th June 2018 Exciting News Time!
Hey you lovely Pledgemakers! If you do ONE good thing today, then please consider voting for me in the Dead Good Readers' Awards. A MURDER TO DIE FOR is shortlisted in the brilliantly-named 'Cabot Cove Award for Best Small Town Mystery' and I'm up against some big hitters.
You made the book happen. Now you can make it an award-winning book!
EVERY vote counts and it only takes a second!…1st June 2018 It's audiobook day!
Yes indeedy! The audiobook of A Murder To Die For is released today and is available from Audible, Amazon, iTunes, ISIS Publishing and wherever audiobooks are sold. Over nine hours of Rula Lenska deliciousness, murder, mayhem and laughs!
And don't forget that I need YOUR help to get the sequel The Diabolical Club to publication.
It's 51% funded already but if you can pledge, please do. The…17th May 2018 Prick up your ears
Hey lovely patron people! How do you fancy a sneaky listen to the first chapter of the A Murder To Die For audiobook as read by Rula Lenska? You do? Oh, go on then. Just click here.
It's on sale as a CD and download from1st June. Exciting times!2nd May 2018 Putting you out of your Misery! (At Last)
Here's a short update about what's going on in the world of A Murder To Die For and The Diabolical Club.
Firstly, TDC is finished! It's been through a raft of re-writes and critical reads and it will, once funded, go through a further series of edits and proofreads, of course. But it's pretty much there and I'm very pleased with it. If you enjoyed AMTDF, I don't think you'll be disappointed…21st April 2018 STOP PRESS!
Sorry to bombard you lovely pledgers but A Murder To Die For has been nominated for an award and I need your votes!
Voting has begun for the 2018 Dead Good Readers' Awards and I'm in with a chance this year in the category of: The Cabot Cove Award for Small Town Mystery. So, if you enjoyed the book, please take a couple of minutes to vote. Oh, and feel free to vote in any other additional categories…17th April 2018 Exalted Rula
I went over to Oxford today to the studios of ISIS publishing to meet the team and to say hello to the gorgeous Rula Lenska who has spent yesterday and today recording the audiobook of A Murder To Die For. It'll be out in June.
It was fascinating to hear how she tackled the various characters and to hear the voices that she's created for each. It's going to be a fab audiobook and it'll be in…26th March 2018 Ups and Downs
Well, what a fortnight that was!
A Murder To Die For is still selling well and is turning up in bookshops everywhere. The reviews for it on Amazon and Goodreads are all very positive and mostly 5*****, which is very flattering. And, last Thursday, I had the great pleasure of spending an evening talking about writing, murder-mystery and the Unbound experience at Waterstones…17th March 2018 Party to Murder
Hello m'lovely sleuthing pledgers.
Things are still looking pretty healthy in A MURDER TO DIE FOR sales land. I went into my local Waterstones last Saturday to sign a few copies only to be told that they'd sold three copies that day. Wow. If that's happening at other stores, I'll be a happy bunny!
So, some updates for you ...
If you pledged at the murder-myster launch party level, invites…1st March 2018 Happy World Book Day!
Happy World Book Day! Here's me as Paddington Bear.
Actually I look more like Jamiroquai's grandad.
The campaign to fund THE DIABOLICAL CLUB - the sequel to A MURDER TO DIE FOR - kicked off on the 11th January and hit the 33% mark, a whole third of the way there, about a month later. What a great start! But the pledges have stalled now and it's taken three weeks to crawl up to 35%. Which…16th February 2018 Hello Pledgelings!
Yes, the book has flown the nest and is now perched on tables - on tables, mind! - in bookshops from Lands End to John O'Groats. Well, Edinburgh to Truro anyway. It's getting some real attention and that, m'chums, is all down to you. YOU made this happen with your kindness and generosity.
I have at least 30 more photos of that ilk. It's wonderful…28th January 2018 Rula Rules!
Well, it's been a cracking first week for A Murder To Die For.
Not only has it been sighted in a number of book shops but it's been seen on at least two tables. That, m'chums, is a big deal. Getting a table spot means that the shop has given prominence to the book (and how could they not with that fantastic Neil Gower cover art?) So hoorah!
Secondly, I can now reveal that there will be an…25th January 2018 The End
Today's the day that A Murder To Die For goes on general sale.
And I just wanted to say a huge, massive thank you, thank you, thank you for making this happen.
This book is very important for me. Not only is it the fulfilment of a long-held dream to see one of my novels in print, it's also meant that my late father finally got some of his unfinished novel into print too. As you know, I've incorporated…23rd January 2018 The final, final countdown
Just two days to go. Oh my goodness.
In just two days, the physical book of A Murder To Die For will be in the shops. Of course, if you're one of my backers, you already have a copy and it's a sexier, heavier, thicker, better printed, bronze-foiled, coloured chapter numbers, posher copy than the ones that'll be in the bookshops. Saying that, the trade paperback is nice too. Just not as nice…16th January 2018 The countdown begins ...
How time flies!
It's now under 10 days to publication day for A Murder To Die For. And can I ask you all a favour? If you see a copy in a shop, snap a pic on your phone and send it to me by Twitter (@stevyncolgan), Facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). One of the big thrills of being a writer is seeing the book in a shop.
The biggest thrill, however, is having your book read by people…11th January 2018 And then two come along at once ...
Ladies and Gentlemen! The campaign has begun to fund and publish the sequel to A Murder To Die For!
Yes indeed, the pledging page for The Diabolical Club is up and running and we've hit 4% of total in the first few hours. I'm hoping we can get this one funded much more quickly so that the sequel can be plopping onto subscribers' doormats this time next year - or even sooner!
Here's the promotional…11th January 2018 So, here we are ...
Yes, here we are, exactly two weeks away from publication day and I thought I'd better do a quick update.
First things first, I desperately hope that you all now have your special editions of A Murder To Die For. It's been a painful experience getting this b*gger out into the world but I think we're just about there now. However, if you've still not recieved your copy please let me know and…21st December 2017 It was the week before Christmas ...
... and the first edition de-luxe copies of A Murder To Die For have sold out!
Gor-blimey guv'nor, lumme, stone the crows and other Dickensian expletives.
I sincerely hope that all of you subscribers now have your physical copies and/or link for digital downloads. If not, do get in touch and I'll try to chase things. Although, with Unbound shutting up shop tomorrow until early Jan (and…8th December 2017 Ho Ho Ho!
For the past six months of what seemed like the longest year of my life, I've been hoping that you lovely subscribers would get your special editions of A Murder To Die For in tme for Christmas. And I'm delighted to say that Father Christmas has, bless his bobbly hat, delivered.
For the past 48 hours my Facebook and Twitter streams have been filled with glorious pictures like these:
Occasional…30th November 2017 Spot the Difference
Hello lovely people
Copies of A Murder To Die For should start plopping onto subscribers' doormats very soon as the great posting has begun. While you wait I thought I'd just explain what the differences are between the subscriber special edition and the standard trade edition that hits the shops in January.
The first obvious difference is size and weight. The specials are printed on a higher…25th November 2017 The Long Wait Is Over!
I went into the Unbound offices on Thursday to sign some copies of A Murder To Die For. Well, I say 'some'; just short of 250 of you lovely people pledged at the signed book level or higher. My wrist has just about recovered now. The books look absolutely gorgeous.
The excellent news is that the books - signed or unsigned - will start winging their way out to you next week. The long wait…1st November 2017 Competition #3 - Winners and Answers!
Hearty congratulations to this month's winners - Adrian Belcher and Alison Burns - who win the final two signed book cover prints.
And both winners from Gloucestershire! It must be something in the water ...
This one was a bit tougher than the previous two competitions but there were plenty of you who got the answers right. However, Alison and Adrian were first out of the hat, so commiserations…21st October 2017 Competition #3 time!
Yes, I admit it. I'm a day late. Life got in the way. But Competition #3 is here!
Usual rules apply - send an email to email@example.com with your answers by midnight GMT on 31st October and the first two correct entries out of the hat on November 1st win the prizes.
The prizes this month are the very last two prints of the book cover, signed by myself and award-winning artist Neil…18th October 2017 Competition #3 Incoming
This Friday (20th) I'll be unveiling this month's competition - the third of five that I'm running in the lead up to publication in January. This month I'm going to be offering the FINAL two signed prints of the book cover as the prizes.There are only five of these in the world and they're signed by me and by my cover artist, the brilliant Neil Gower (Look hm up - he's one of the best).
So…2nd October 2017 Competition #2 Winners!
Huge congratulations to Julie Warren and Lawrence Pretty who were the winners of my September competition. They win signed Sandi Toksvig and Jonathan Coe books.
41 entries for this competition - the best response yet. Perhaps I'm making the puzzles too easy ...
Another competition in a couple of weeks. Then one more in November.
So, still two more chances to win!
Oh, and do check out my…28th September 2017 Push the Button!
Unbound is just about to push the print button on A Murder To Die For, which means that the wait is nearly over.
For those of you who have gone for the physical paperback, you'll be getting something very sexy indeed. The cover will sport metallic bronze foils on the lettering, the interior will have a full-colour map and coloured chapter headings and the paper quality will be…20th September 2017 Competition Time! (again)
Yes indeed! It's time for the second of my monthly competitions leading up to publication day for A Murder To Die For in January.
This month the prizes are quite nice again. I have a signed hardback copy of Jonathan Coe's The Rain Before It Falls and a signed copy of Sandi Toksvig's Whistling For The Elephants, also in hardback. First winner drawn from the hat gets the choice of book. Second…18th September 2017 Introducing ... Borrowed
Just a short, sharp shedpost (Is it called a shed anymore? I must check) about a project that I'm involved with that, with your help, will be published by Unbound.
Borrowed is a short story collection featuring contributions from Unbound authors Shona Kinsella, Ian Skewis, Claire Patel-Campbell, Lou Allison, Paul Holbrook, Elena Kaufman, Erinna Mettler and me.
ALL royalties…7th September 2017 We have covers
Today, I got the final artwork through for the wraparound cover and the internal front and back cover. I hope you like them.
I'm chuffed to bits.
(Click to see a bigger pic)
The plan is for the special edition to have some nice extras like bronze metallic foil on the title lettering and some colour bits inside the book too. I cannot wait to hold it in my hands.
Not long now!…1st September 2017 And the Winner(s) is/are ...
So, competition #1 is done! In total there were 38 correct entries and the answers were, of course:
Policeman brat -> Albert Campion
Ladylike corner -> Roderick Alleyn
Anorak mind -> Adrian Monk
Dearly a corgi -> Cordelia Gray
To randomise the prize draw, I gave every entrant a number and got my grandkids to pick one each. And the winners were:
Ruth Bourne and Paula Francisco.
Congratulations…30th August 2017 So close I can smell the printers' ink ...
Tomorrow (31st) marks the final staging post before publication of A Murder To Die For. Why? Because midnight tomorrow is the cut-off date for people to have their name included in the back of the book as a patron. It means that there is nothing now to stop the book going to print.
Those lovely Unbounders and I have been spending the past couple of months making the book as special as we can. Part…21st August 2017 IT'S COMPETITION TIME!
As promised, to count down the five months until the official release of A Murder To Die For in January* here’s the first of five monthly competitions that are only open to subscribers/pledgers/backers - call yourselves what you will.
That’s right, you lot.
To say thanks for believing in this book and putting your hands in your pockets to make it happen, you get exclusive access to these…17th August 2017 Time's up!
Sorry to bombard you lovely people with another update ... but it's an important one.
The deadline to pre-order my book and get your name listed in the back as a patron has been set for MIDNIGHT on AUGUST 31st.
If you're already a subscriber - no problem. However, if you were planning on buying copies as presents and you want other people's names listed in the back, get subscribing now!…14th August 2017 It's Quintuple Competition Time!
Next Monday (21st) it'll be just about five months to publication day for A Murder to Die for. And I'll be running the first of five special monthly competitions for the lovely people who have backed my book and helped to make it a reality. There are currently 417 backers, all of whom will be eligible to enter.
You've got to be in it to win it, as they say.
So, if you're not already a backer…29th June 2017 Remember me?
Hello fab funders and perspicacious pledgers!
Accustomed as you are to weekly bombardment of updates from me, you might have noticed a lull in my output recently. There are good reasons for this: (a) because it does no harm to give your poor bulging inboxes a respite from time to time and (b) because I really didn't have much to report.
But now I have. And it's all good.
A Murder To Die For…27th April 2017 Time for an Update
Hello murder lovers.
It's been a little while since I posted an update so here we go ...
The book has now been structurally edited and copyedited. I'm just awaiting the copyedit to come back to me for final approval and then it's off to the proofreader for a final check over. Then the typesetter will get their mitts on it and the book will start to look like a book. The cover, meanwhile, is…5th April 2017 April Update
Hello m'lovelies. Can I call you shedfolk any more when ths is no longer called a shed? Probably not. The new Unbound website design is pretty good though isn't it?
So, here's a quick update on the book.
The cover has been designed - I've seen Neil Gower's sketches and they are absolutely brilliant. He's now working on the finished artwork.
The manuscript is with a copy editor. Once I…22nd March 2017 1940s Murder Mystery #7 - The Solution
Here's the solution (But, of course, you'd all solved it already). Another one soon!17th March 2017 1940s Murder Mystery #7 - Death at Sea
It's that time again! Welcome to Murder Mystery #7 of 10! And today we're all at sea (click on pics to see a larger image).
Solution in a few days' time!10th March 2017 Whodunit #6 - The Solution!
Another new 1940s Whodunit next week!7th March 2017 Whodunit #6
And we're back to the 1940s with another Whodunit from 'The Complete Home Entertainer' book.
Have fun! I'll post the solution on Friday.
(As always, click on the pictures to see a larger version)2nd March 2017 Good News!
Some great news to report this week.
Firstly, the manuscript has come back from my editor with, I'm pleased to say, very few suggestions for changes/tweaks etc.I'm now making my way through the document and doing what needs doing before submitting it back to Unbound for proofreading and then typesetting. Yay!
The second piece of news is that the cover is going to be done…21st February 2017 The Rules of Crime Fiction
While I was writing A Murder To Die For, I did quite a lot of research into the murder mystery genre. While I'd always enjoyed reading or watching crime fiction, I'd never written one before - barring a few short stories - and I was keen to understand how such stories were put together by 'Golden Age' authors like Christie, Marsh, Chesterton and Sayers. And I discovered that there had been several…13th February 2017 Medium Well Done - A new Gavin Quisty story
As promised! A brand new short story featuring DCI Gavin Quisty, one of the characters from A Murder To Die For. I hope you enjoy it!
“The local police can’t believe that this is a simple suicide if they’ve bothered to call you in,” said William ‘Lucky Bill’ Luckinbill. A short, stocky pudding of…9th February 2017 New Quisty incoming ...
I wonder if you were one of my splendid subscribers back in the dim and distant past of June 2016? If you were, you might have read a short murder mystery tale that I posted in my shed featuring DCI Gavin Quisty - one of the more interesting characters from A Murder To Die For. If you missed it (and fancy a short, fun read), here's the link.
If you enjoy(ed) it, you might…31st January 2017 Whodunit #5 - The Solution
Here you go. More soon!30th January 2017 Whodunit #5
Yourfinal Whodunit for a while as I'm taking a break from all social media for a little while to hunker down and get some serious wordcount completed. I will, however, post the solution to this tomorrow.
See you all soon.28th January 2017 Whodunit #4 - the Solution
I'll post Whodunit #5 to the shed tomorrow! Meanwhile, this ...27th January 2017 Whodunit #4
It's the return of the vintage 1940 murder mysteries! Yay!
It's been an eventful week ... we now have a publishing schedule (see previous shedpost) and I've also landed a lovely cover quote from the marvelous Sandi Toksvig to join Mr Stephen Fry's kind words. I'm currently chasing a third ...
But now it's time to pop deerstalkers on bonces and to unravel ... The Riverside Murders.
(As always…24th January 2017 On schedule!
A superquick update to let you know that I now have a proposed schedule from Unbound for A Murder To Die For. Yay!
The book is currently with an editor and I should get it back soon. After that, there's this:
End Feb - The edited manuscript will go to the copyeditor.
End March - The copyedited text will come back to me for review.
Early April - Typesetting.…20th January 2017 Solution to Whodunnit #3
Here's the solution to case #3.
I'll post Case #4 sometime next week so I'm not bombarding you with too many shedposts and emails.
Hope you caught the bad guy!18th January 2017 Whodunnit #3
Hello super-sleuths! Here's the solution to Whodunnit #2 and, because I got my scanner working again,the picture quality is much better (as always, click on the pic to see a bigger version).
So, did you get it right? Many of you did I know. Right, here we go with Whodunnit #3 - The Body on the Moor ...
Good luck!16th January 2017 Whodunnit #2
Well done on solving Whodunnit #1! Here's the 'official' solution from the book (click on image for a larger version):
Yay! Mears is off to gaol! But we can't rest on our laurels yet my fellow detectives! For now we must solve ... The Brighton Beach Mystery!
Ok, get going, mystery fans! And here are larger pictures of those illustrations. Good luck!12th January 2017 Whodunit?? #1
Hello and Happy New Year!
Nothing new to report on the book front yet I'm afraid. I'm still waiting for an editor to be appointed. But, in the meantime I thought we'd have a bit of fun :D
Yesterday I went to my favourite bookshop in nearby Penn village (this amazing place) and, among the bargains I picked up, was this - The Complete Home Entertainer.
It's a great little book published…28th December 2016 Ring in the New, to Hell with the Old
2016 has been a massive spotty arse of a year; so much so, in fact, that I'm going to take it off my Christmas card list. To hell with you 2016. You were a git.
After hearing of Carrie Fisher's death yesterday, I reached for my ever-so-precious copy of Wishful Drinking that she signed for me when we had her as a guest on QI two years ago, and started to re-read it.
It's not a big book and…22nd December 2016 The Promise of a Better Tomorrow
Hello lovely shedfolk! Here's my last post of 2016. And I thought I'd give you a short Christmas story set in the same world as A Murder To Die For.
Everyone took the mickey out of Mr Spurgeon.
He lived in the old post office opposite the vicarage and, while all of the houses on Chapel Street had respectable rear gardens…2nd December 2016 My top sitcoms ... and explaining the long wait
The death of Andrew Sachs this week has made me reach for the Fawlty Towers boxset and enjoy its cripplingly funny farce all over again. And it's made me realise something. I write literary sitcom.
Sitcom is, as you know, 'Situation Comedy', which centres around a fixed group of characters who carry over from episode to episode. And it's not confined solely to TV; you can have radio sitcom of course…22nd November 2016 Top 10 Comedy Films?
No news to report book-wise as I'm still waiting to hear from my editor so I thought this week that I'd talk about comedy films.
I recently wrote a blogpost and inaugurated a Facebook discussion about comedy films and what the Top 10 would be. It turned out to be a fascinating discussion.
Having hunted around the net to look at various lists posted by magazines and websites I was surprised to…7th November 2016 The Waiting Game
As it's been a couple of weeks since my last post I thought I'd say hello.
There's not much to report at this time; the manuscript has been with Unbound for a fortnight and I'm just waiting to be assigned an editor so there's not much that I can do at the moment except think about things like the cover design.
Getting the right cover for your book is SO important. A huge…18th October 2016 And ... relax. For a bit.
Well, we got there Shedfolk!
I told you that the final 10% tends to go quite quickly and sure enough it did. And we're at 100%!
So, next steps:
The book is written and it's been read by a bunch of excellent critical readers. I deliver the manuscript (after a final read-through) on friday. Then it goes to editing stage. This is where I'm assigned an editor and, together, we make…12th October 2016 It's the Final Countdown! (cue twiddly 80s synth riff)
Well, what a fortnight that was. After running my 'I've hit 75%!' Agatha Christie competition, I decided to go all out to get that final 25%. I'm not quite there yet but I am at 89% and just a pledge or two away from 90%.
That final 10% is going to be agonisingly slow!
Firstly, if you're a new subscriber and this is the first of my shedposts that you've seen, welcome! And…2nd October 2016 Competition time - The Result!
What fun that was! And thank you so much to the 39 people who entered my Agatha Christie-themed competition!
Nine of you got all 12 of the Agatha Christie novel titles I was after.
The titles were ...
The Big Four (on clock face)
The man in the brown suit (er ... the man in the brown suit)
Unfinished Portrait (chap on the left. Or right?)
Five little pigs (Obvs!)
The ABC Murders…15th September 2016 Happy Birthday Agatha!
It's Agatha Christie's birthday today.
She died in 1976 at the age of 86 and, staggeringly, produced 73 novels (66 murder mystery), 28 collections, 16 plays, 2 biographies and a handful of broadcast works and poems in her lifetime. But, as prolific as she was, the quality never seemed to suffer, She is still the third most published author in human history, having sold over two billion books -…9th September 2016 COMPETITION TIME!!
We're finally at 75% funded! Yay! Whoop! Huzzah!
And I promised you a competition when we got here. So a competition you shall have.
This competition is only open to the excellent people who have pledged money to make this book happen. If your name isn't on the list of subscribers then, sadly, you can't enter.
But, of course there's nothing to stop you making a pledge and becoming eligible…4th September 2016 'I've gathered you all here together ... '
IMPORTANT! I'M NOW 74% FUNDED.
LOOK OUT FOR WHEN I HIT 75% FUNDED.
IT'LL BE COMPETITION TIME FOR MY SUBSCRIBERS!
But in the meantime ...
It's not every day you get to live on a real life 'Cluedo' board. But, this past week, I did just that.
I've just spent seven days at Barscobe House, a large…21st August 2016 Me Me Me. And Me.
A quick round-Up of some stuff I've been up to if you're interested. Or not. And why would you be, really? You have lives don't you? :D
I made an appearance on the panel show EX LIBRIS with Tom Whipple, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst and the great John Lloyd CBE recently. It's now available to hear online. Catch it here on the Ex Libris site or on iTunes and elsewhere.
I also made…12th August 2016 It's all gone Biblical
Hello Shedfolk! Well, the weather is gloriously balmy, we've scooped a few medals at the Olympics and I've just done a run of appearances promoting my last book and pimping this one. I've been at the Latitude and Wilderness festivals, done talks in Farnborough, Oxford and Cardiff, and I've appeared on the Level-Up Human podcast and the Ex Libris live panel show. I've also hosted the pilot for a possible…29th July 2016 How to Crowdfund a Book. Or anything else.
Last year, I wrote piece about my crowdfunding journey which was serialised in three parts by Medium.com.
Here they are, if it's something that interests you (and I hope it helps some of you if you take the same journey):21st July 2016 Push!
With funding teetering on the brink of 70%, the final push is in sight.
So ... a few things.
Firstly, it's to announce that when we hit 75% I'll run a competition. With some nice prizes. But you gotta be in it to win it, as they say.
Note: This will only be open to supporters of the book; people who have been magnanimous and kind enough to risk a few pounds to make it a…15th July 2016 Cornish Crime Wave!
Note: I did post this a while back in the shed for my last book - Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? - but some of you may not have seen it.
I thought this might amuse you.
I was rummaging through some old boxes of knick-knacks and gewgaws recently and discovered this - a crime report taken by my late father in 1967. Dad initially joined the Met in London in 1959 but became homesick very…14th July 2016 I'm jolly for Alice ... and Crowdfunding
A couple of days ago, the wonderful Alice Jolly won the PEN Ackerley Literary Prize - against some stiff opposition - for her memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns. The book was crowdfunded by subscribers to Unbound. As Alice said in her acceptance speech:
'It isn’t just my book, [it’s the book for all those people] who had the nerve to come forward with their money to say ‘yes we believe in this…8th July 2016 Good News among the Terrible News
It's been a good week.
Well, in between news stories about backstabbing Brexiters, squabbling Labour MPs, confused and rudderless Tory MPs, more shootings in America, car bombs in Iraq, junior doctors having contracts forced upon them, crashing currencies, Wales being knocked out of Euro 2016 and England being beaten by Iceland, madmen and dodgy women running for US president, racist attacks on…20th June 2016 The Nearly Invisible Man
Hey you guys!
A big thank you to all of you who suggested ways for me to 'get out of the doldrums' regarding raising funds for this book. I've taken all of your suggestions on board and I'm working my way through them. One of them was to reword the Unbound page for this book to make it seem more attractive prospect. That's been done. I hope it works.
As it happens, something has worked as I…12th June 2016 In the Doldrums Part 2
Two months ago, I wrote a shedpost called In the doldrums without a paddle in which I talked about the frustrations of crowdfunding a book. Back then I'd been trying to raise funding for 116 days and had reached a kind of plateau at 41%, which meant that I was raising around 10% per month.
Meanwhile other, newer books were whizzing past me and reaching 100%, some in a matter of just days. It's…5th June 2016 The Name isn't the Same Part 2
Back in February I wrote a shed post (here) explaining why I've changed the name of my fictional lady detective from Magnolia Chetwynd to Millicent Cutter. The change was necessary for several reasons that only emerged once the book had got to the end of its first draft. Names are important (as I wrote about in this shedpost). And the book is much better for the change.
Well, I'm now at Draft 10…21st May 2016 Such a tease!
Okay. We're over halfway at 56% and teetering perilously close to 60%. But there's still a long way to go before A Murder To Die For becomes a book that you can hold and read. So, I thought, how about giving my existing subscibers a chapter or four to read while they wait? It'll introduce you to most of the main players and give you a taste of my writing. And who knows? Maybe it might intrigue a few…14th May 2016 Dad's legacy of MURDER ...
13th May, was something of a landmark for me but not in any happy way. It marked the 25th anniversary of my father dying unexpectedly, and tragically young at the age of just 51, and with one of his great ambitions unrealised.
Like me, Dad was a career cop. He specialised in homicide. And, like me, he was passionate about writing. Under his pen-name of Myghal Colgan (his birthname was Michael)…24th April 2016 Now and Then
I'm part of a group on Facebook that posts photos of local places as they are now compared to in the past. And this week I was particularly struck by this old photo from nearby West Wycombe (posted by a lady called Susie Chester):
And the reason it struck me is because it's almost exactly the spot where I filmed the promotional video for this book. It' in Church Lane looking down towards Church…16th April 2016 My Top 5 British Comedy Books
There's a surprising lack of new British comedy in fiction these days. There was a time when bookshop shelves groaned with the weight of rib-ticklers by Michael Frayn, Richard Gordon, Stella Gibbons, E F Benson ... but now, not so much. Or so it seems to me anyway. Mind you, finding a good bookshop isn't so easy either.
There's still a lot of comedy around in children's and young adults' books…29th March 2016 Another week, another pretty village
I celebrated hitting the 45% funded mark on Easter Bank Holiday Monday by drinking too much in Denham Village.
It's a place I know very well. In the early 1980s, when I first moved to the South-East from Cornwall, I lived in Uxbridge on the far western periphery of London. But if I ever wanted to impress a girlfriend, Denham Village was where I'd take her as it was just over the border in my…19th March 2016 In the doldrums without a paddle
Welcome to the doldrums, that patch of calm water in which our crowdfunding ship finds itself.
In case you didn't know, 'doldrums' does have a nautical origin: ''The doldrums refers to those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm. The doldrums are also noted for…4th March 2016 The truth is more boring than fiction
40% of the way there thanks to lovely, lovely you. But we mustn't get complacent; we're not even halfway there yet. The fight goes on!
Today marks the 100th day since I launched this crowdfunded book and I thought I'd spend our 'anniversary' looking at some of the common tropes and memes that turn up in detective…16th February 2016 The Name isn't the Same
I'm currently very busy writing the new series of QI (Series N) which we're due to start shooting in early May. This entails me pulling together the content for two complete shows plus (as all Elves do) contributing facts and content to all 16 shows. Consequently, I don't have much time for the novel at the moment. Frustrating!
However, as I explained in my last shedpost, when I get to the third…30th January 2016 The kindest cuts are worth making
As I sit here, just having passed the 30% funded mark, I find myself in a pretty good position.
I first pitched a comedy novel to Unbound around August last year. I'd finished the manuscript. They read it. They liked it. And they said 'Yes! Let's make a book!'
When I went for my first planning meeting with Mat and Phil at the Unbound offices, something odd happened. We discussed…18th January 2016 Photo-fitted up
So, tell me Shed folk ... who is this? I'll give you a clue. It's a very famous character from classic detective fiction.
Want another clue? How about this description from a book he appears in: 'His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller…13th January 2016 And with one mighty leap ...
50 days ago today I launched A Murder To Die For on this site. And, at 22%, it means that I'm getting funded at a rate of just under 0.5% per day, which equates to around £45. So I'm getting somewhere between one and three pledges a day. It's slow but steady. I have no moans. However, it does mean that, even if the level stays constant, the other 78% is going to take me around six months to gather…5th January 2016 Top 10 Silliest TV Detective Series
I originally published this list in my Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? shed. But it's just as relevant here. And, more importantly, I've found no reason to change any of my decisions. Unless you can give me good reason to add or replace a series, that is? Suggestions welcome!
10 - Kojak
You know that scene in the film…3rd January 2016 It's 2016!
It is indeed 2016. And I saw it in with some style at a black tie dinner in a rather nice country pub called The Full Moon in Little Kingshill, just a couple of miles away. I dressed accordingly.
There was a 'Casino Royale' theme to things with tables laid out like gaming tables, chocolate dice and poker chips etc. and waitresses handing us vodka martinis at the door. Interestingly, there was…23rd December 2015 It was a Dark and Stormy Night ...
It bloody was.
I got invited out to supper last night on one of the worst nights of the year so far. The rain was lashing down, the wind was blowing a gale and the roads were covered with those scary big puddles where you're never sure which bit to drive through because you can't see any of the ruts or potholes under the surface. And there were plenty of those as the route to my meeting, greeting…13th December 2015 The Name's Afoot!
It won’t be apparent to you at the moment but, once you get your mitts on a copy of A Murder To Die For, you’ll see that many of the characters sport unusual surnames. This is no accident.
I love names. And names are important when you’re creating characters.
Imagine, for example, if Ian Fleming had decided to name his most famous creation Trevor Lillicrap instead of James Bond. Now, there’s…9th December 2015 The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930)
What could be better? A murder mystery and the greatest comedy double act of all time!
I found this photo of the cast quite by chance today and just had to share it (click on image to make it larger).
Isn't it great?
It's not one of the boys' better-known movies but, with their movies back in cinemas again and with a whole new audience falling in love with them, it's well worth seeking…7th December 2015 I do apologise, I just farced
Farce (noun) - A comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable.
I love farce. I’m a farce-oholic.
Some of my earliest memories involve dark, wet Sunday afternoons sat in front of the TV with my family, watching old British comedy films on the BBC. You’ll know many of the films I’m talking about: Whisky Galore!,…1st December 2015 Two Colgans for the price of one
A Murder To Die For is a very personal project for a number of reasons. As I explain in the video it combines three things that have had a profound influence on my life: my 30 year police career, classic murder mystery, and my deep love of comedy - particularly British farce. But there is a fourth thing.
Dad was a writer too. Under his pen-name of Myghal Colgan, he had many articles…29th November 2015 A gloriumptious day out
Four days into the crowdfunding campaign and we've hit 5%. That's pretty good going!
Today I was at a village fair in Great Missenden, helping out Mrs C who was running a stall. It's about a 10 minute drive from where I live and is one of those typical little South Buckinghamshire villages - all whitewash and timber frames, red brick and flint - that inspired my fictional village of Little Hogley…25th November 2015 Out and about in Little Hogley
We had some fun making the short video to launch this book. We used several villages near where I live, including some of the places that inspired the locations in the book.
My fictitious Little Hogley and, indeed, the entire fictitious county of South Herewardshire, is based on the South Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire borderlands where I live. It's stunningly pretty around here. And if any…24th November 2015 Welcome!
So, here we are again. My third book with Unbound and my first novel.
Well, not quite my first.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember – certainly for well over 40 years. I was always writing as a boy. I serially submitted articles and stories to magazines and I entered writing competitions and won a few prizes. I wrote my first novel when I was 16.
It was, of course, terrible.…
These people are helping to fund A Murder To Die For.
Rhel ná DecVandé
David G Tubby
An anonymous donor