Here It is

This is the second time in a week that I’m announcing the release of a new book, and today it’s…

Murder at the Christmas Meddlercon, the 26th Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery. In which we see Joe, Sheila and Brenda, and other members of the Sanford 3rd Age Club attending a fan convention with the stars of TV series, the Meddler Murder Mysteries, and as always, it’s not long before they’re embroiled in a murder.

It’s almost 11 years since Crooked Cat published the first STAC, The Filey Connection, and at the time I figured five or six, maybe ten before the series was played out, and here we are at #26. And there are more to come yet.

There are times when I feel they’re getting tired, but the number of pre-orders would dispute that. Readers seem to find them as popular as ever. In truth, with my 73rd birthday looming, it’s more likely me getting tired.

I do find it harder to come up with reasonable scenarios, and in the case of Meddlercon, the idea came from my editor, the estimable Maureen Vincent-Northam, who used to attend such conventions… but obviously, not for the Meddler Murder Mysteries because they’re not real. They’re a product of my imagination.

If Joe’s attitude to life is a bit cynical, it’s because he’s an extension of my personality. I’m not really as snappy and tight-fisted as him, but I do keep a careful eye on finances, and I can be blunt, short, and outspoken with people who rub me up the wrong way. And as I get older, I seem to meet more of them.

Joe’s ambivalent attitude to Christmas is another example of me. It’s nice seeing and chatting with family, even if it’s only on Zoom, but at heart, I’m not fond of this time of year. The nights are too long, the days too short, and it’s too bloody cold. Give me spring and summer any time.

One of the great joys of being a writer is that I can pass on my troubles to the characters. Joe’s gastric problems, his need for the toilet every five minutes, his wearing of incontinence pants, is a mirror of my own problems of that nature over this past year.

I’m currently undergoing a series of tests to confirm or eliminate colorectal cancer. The signs are good, but I’m in hospital again early in January for what we hope will be the final endoscopy examination and removal of a sessile polyp, the kind which can turn cancerous. My wife and I remain optimistic and we’re grateful for all the good wishes friends and readers have sent over the past 12 months, but it’s always there at the back of your mind, and if I can lumber Joe with the same problem, it helps me handle it.

With STAC #26 now sailing the choppy seas of publication, what am I up to? #27, obviously. Once again, it’s an idea which came from a fellow writer, friend, and reader, Iain Pattison, who writes as Jay Raven. The working title is A (Dead) American in Sanford and it involves the deferred visit of the Sanford 3rd Age Club (Florida) to Sanford West Yorkshire. Aside from an ocean getting in the way, there is a significant difference between Sanford Florida and Sanford West Yorkshire. The American town is real, the place in Yorkshire doesn’t exist.

And with that it remains only for me to thank you all for your support, and wish you all the very best for Christmas and New Year.

Murder at the Christmas Meddlercon, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery # 26 is exclusive to Amazon and price at £1.99. Prime and KUL subscribers can read FREE as part of their allowance.

You can find it HERE

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