Allegations without facts

“On the twenty-first of May, Frederick Deeming passed away.” Frederick Bailey Deeming was labelled the criminal of the century after his execution in Melbourne on 23 May 1892. A folk song with a fictitious date forever linked him to a greater fiction that he was Jack the Ripper. Deeming killed his wife and four children […]

Well-mannered Crooks, Rogues and Criminals

The latest instalment in Mitzi Szereto’s true crime series is published on 15 June. This anthology of stories about rogues contains my piece on Charles Chadwick, also known as Andrew John Gibson, a notorious international conman and serial bigamist. One of the earliest reviews pays tribute to Raffles, the gentleman criminal created by E. W. […]

Should we judge the past?

Society is changing. Attitudes and behaviours which were once considered normal are no longer accepted or tolerated. This can create issues for readers and viewers of older material. Should we be offended, judgmental or willing to accept that the creators of the work had different values to our own? I have largely taken the third […]

Honesty in autobiographies

I recently commented on Peter Haining’s biography of Sweeney Todd which made the Demon Barber appear real and the growing trend to merge fiction in fact. One of my favourite autobiographies is Left At East Gate, by Larry Warren, which covers the authors involvement in the Rendlesham Forest UFO case. I was unconvinced by the […]

An impossible search?

One of my ongoing research projects is an attempt to identify Mary Jane Kelly, victim of Jack the Ripper. She told her last boyfriend of a birth in Limerick, childhood in Wales, possibly Carmarthenshire or Caernarvonshire, where her father was a foreman in an ironworks. At the age of 16 she married a collier, possibly […]

The Demon Barber

This week saw the release of The Demon Barber, my 64th published story and first contribution to the Doctor Who project. In 1998 members of the Telefantasy Appreciation Society of Canada began planning their own version of Doctor Who, releasing their first story in January the following year. Around the same time, I read a […]

Murder and Machinery now available

Today sees the release of Murder & Machinery, an anthology of speculative fiction from Black Beacon books which contains my story, Fargan’s Termination. The publisher’s blog contains a short interview with me and the other contributors. It’s great to work with such a talented group, who have each interpreted the theme of the book in […]

Transferable writing skills

Sometimes there is an overlap between my main career and my writing. In paid roles I have written business cases, government policy on privacy, and responses to serious complaints, using the same skills that I apply to writing non-fiction. You need to research the facts then understand and target the right audience and get the […]

Researching Coincidences

For the last month or so I have researching two murders that occurred in the vicinity of Pype Hayes Park, close to where I lived as a child in Erdington, Birmingham. Both victims were women, aged 20. Both were killed on or around 27 May, which marked the end of the Whitsun weekend after attending […]