Doctor Who Season 3, a quick review

In January 2018 I began watching every episode of Doctor Who in chronological order, at the rate of one per week. I wrote reviews of the first two seasons for Whotopia, supplementing my concise comments on individual stories in the Doctor Who Ratings Guide. Whotopia is no longer around so I have decided to make […]

We’ll never know Jack

Today marks 23 years since the publication of a book that highlighted a plausible Jack the Ripper suspect. The Secret of Prisoner 1167: Was this Man Jack the Ripper? by James Tully, suggested that James Kelly was responsible for the murders. John Morrison made the same connection in a booklet published eight years earlier.  This […]

Reviews Matter

Regular readers of this blog will know of my interest in the 1884 Carmarthen mystery and its tentative connection with Jack the Ripper. I have now written a definitive account of events in The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns, released on 14 July and available for pre-order now from bookshops and Amazon, if […]

Writing opportunities during COVID-19

Writers are sometimes advised to write about what they know. This might include places they have visited or characters that they have met. For the last few months many of us have had a limited opportunity to acquire new knowledge, due to isolation restrictions. There are now options to write about these experiences. Submittable currently […]

A Grave Connection

This week I returned to one of the 333 suspects in my book about Jack the Ripper, aiming to write a longer piece about him. This follows articles about Robert Hiron, John George Donkin, Jim Connell, William Onion which I expanded into an, as yet, unpublished biography and Thomas Cutbush. So many of the suspects […]

Learning from mistakes

This week I made a mistake. I wrote a brilliant short story that absolutely met all the criteria for a competition except one. The organisers stipulated that it was only open to unpublished authors. This was clearly stated at the top of the rules, not buried in the small print, so I only have myself […]

Death Records

In the final part of this series on using genealogical records for research, we’ll look at deaths. In the UK civil registration began in 1837. Prior to that you may be able to find records in parish and cemetery registers. As with births there is no guarantee that all deaths were notified to the authorities. […]

Marriage Certificates

In the third part of this series on using genealogical records for research we’ll look at marriages. Before 1837 only marriages conducted by the Church of England, Jews and Quakers were legally recognised. Prior to that date you may find records from the place of worship. The 1836 Marriage Act allowed for the ceremony in […]

Census Returns

In the second part of this series on using genealogical records for research we’ll look at census returns. The first modern census in the United Kingdom was taken on 7 June 1841. An enumerator delivered a schedule which the household completed, with the enumerator helping those who were illiterate. Each person living at the address […]