Book Review – All Through The Night by M.P. Wright

September 13, 2017

This is a crime thriller in the tradition of John Buchan’s 39 Steps.  The protagonist JT Ellington takes off into the 1960’s West Country countryside, with a little girl in his charge, pursued by violent men who want to do them harm.  He is a black Private Detective, a migrant from the Caribbean, working the streets of Bristol with little knowledge of the terrain to which they escape but well aware of the endemic racism in the environment where he works.

The author has a sound knowledge of the geography of the city and countryside of the time which his characters inhabit.  Being a Bristolian myself and brought up in the area of that time I am aware of the places in the picture he paints.  The characters and plot are compelling to follow.  This is a story which can be described as West Country Noir and is certainly well worth a read.

 

Keith Jahans
Peatmore Press

All Through the Night is published by Black & White Publishing
and is available as an ebook, hardcover, paperback and audibook

 

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Lest we forget

September 7, 2017

It is difficult for us of a different generation to imagine what it must have been like to live through the days of the early 1940s in Britain when the country was so nearly overrun by Nazi tyranny.  But I was so pleased when talking to my Mother over the past few months that she decided to write down her experiences of that time.  It is a powerful story tinged with sadness, humour and romance.  I have been fortunate to have been able to publish my own writings in recent years, so when I read what she had written there was no doubt in my mind that I should help her publish it.

I always knew she was a fine writer because of the letters she wrote to me when I was away from home as a child and again when I left to seek out a career as a young man.  Even though she left school at 14 she is a highly educated woman able to adapt to learning new skills, and this shows in her writing.  Thus, Peatmore Press is proud to publish her wartime story which is now available as an ebook on the Amazon Kindle store by following the link below.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

 

Read it here

 


Science Fiction

August 24, 2017

Brian Aldiss, one of the great writers of Science Fiction, died this week.  It has been said that his talent could have achieved wider recognition if he had chosen to concentrate on more mainstream fiction.  But Science Fiction novels are based on ideas and it is these ideas that motivate its devotees to write stories about them.  Instead of writing “What Happened” they write “What If”.

These thoughts are not my own but are based on an interview I heard on BBC Radio 4 earlier this week.  I have looked for a link to the interview but sadly could not find it so you have to put up with my recollection.

My own meagre attempts at Science Fiction pale in comparison with the great authors of the genre but I have written a nine minute audio tale titled, “But If,” as a tribute to H.G. Wells.  It is free to listen for a limited period and those of you wishing to hear it can follow the link below.  As for Brian Aldiss, I thank him for his words and ideas.

Keith Jahans

Click on this image to listen


Book Review – Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene

August 8, 2017

I loved the banter between the lady protagonists who were wonderful characters.  The male characters were not drawn quite as well.  The plot was a little convoluted particularly towards the end and I had difficulty following.  However, I liked the house with its secret passages, locked doors and hidden keys.  The search to uncover the truth behind these was fascinating and kept me reading to the end.  The book seems to be the first in the series featuring one of the central female characters as a private detective.  I hope the series pans out well as the author has a fine aptitude for mystery and dialogue.

Mark of the Loon is available as a
free ebook on the Amazon Kindle Store

 

Keith Jahans

 


Water

August 2, 2017

Water is the most valuable commodity on planet earth.  We came from water and it surrounded us in the womb.  You can forget gold, silver, platinum or uranium.  These are not needed to survive, but we need water.

I love watching cricket and was strangely surprised to find that during the Sky coverage of England’s last test match against South Africa the presenters were giving away refillable water bottles to highlight the pollution of the oceans by the disposable plastic variety.  I have been using a refillable bottle which I first acquired about five years ago during the last days of my field hockey playing days and have been filling it with tap water and taking it with me while walking or on car journey’s ever since.

I see no reason for buying water while it is readily available on tap.  Where I am living now the tap water is unsuitable to drink as it does not come directly from the mains and is probably held in a tank, which is not fully protected from the outside, so I boil my drinking water in an electric kettle and use it to fill my bottle once it has cooled.  I am unsure whether it tastes as good as fresh tap water but it does the job in that it quenches my thirst and I know that it is safe.

Plastic bottled water often contains pictures of cool, mountain streams but is it safe?  And does it taste much different?  The problem highlighted by the TV channel is the damage the bottle does to the environment once it is discarded.  It is true that many other plastics also pollute the oceans but there is really no need to add to them by spending money on something that is not really necessary.

Check out Sky’s Campaign at https://skyoceanrescue.com

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press


Fish and Chips

July 28, 2017

Fish and Chip shops can be found in the majority of British towns and was our country’s original fast takeaway food.  When I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s it was considered a treat to eat a fish and chip takeaway and that feeling still persists with me today.

During the last five years I have been travelling around Britain and in the course of my travels have sampled portions of this famous dish from different parts of the country.  I had the idea of determining which region or even which town offered the tastiest dish and even photographed each one so I could rate how well they were presented.  Unfortunately, such is my liking for this food I was unable to decide which was best.  But I do consider that there is nothing as good as buying takeaway fish and chips at a British seaside town and eating while relaxing on a bench at the sea front overlooking the waves.  There is an added excitement of having to defend one’s meal from the aerial attacks of the local seagulls intend on stealing as much of your food as they can get away with, which means that the meal cannot be left unattended for one second.  But for me this only adds to the fun.

Years ago fish and chips came wrapped in yesterday’s newspapers so not only could a person avail themselves of a tasty meal, but they had written material to be entertained by at the same time.  It all added to the delight of eating this most wondrous food.  This led to the saying that today’s news is simply tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping.  I once ask a fish and chip shop owner why this practice was stopped only to be told it was due to health and safety.  I wondered what kind of diseases could be caught from old newspapers and still do so to this very day.

Keith Jahans

Fish and Chips by the sea at Scarborough, Yorkshire
(note the free wooden fork protruding from the top)

 

 


Book Review – Charles Dickens and the Night Visitors by David James

July 11, 2017

This is a work of fiction based on fact.  Charles Dickens is arguably the best British novelist of all time.  I have not read many of his books, but I have seen numerous adaptations on film and television.  Although I knew about some aspects of his life until I read this book I was unaware of his fascination with hypnosis.

This story tells of his use of hypnosis to treat one Augusta de la Rue while staying in Italy with his family.  This actually happened, but in this account the facts are blurred.  The story is seen through the fictitious accounts of members of the Dickens household including the man himself.  This means that some of the tales, particularly those of the young Dickens children, encompass visions of spectres, ghosts and a variety of creepy crawlies.  The author’s descriptions of these apparitions and the atmosphere surrounding the household are expertly drawn.

I did sometimes get confused about the identity of which character was telling a particular aspect of the story and had to check back in the narrative several times to make sure that I understood their identity.  This may have been due to the limitations of the way the ebook I was reading was put together and the story would probably be easier to follow in either the hardback or paperback formats of the book.  But all in all it was a fascinating read and led me to Google to search out more of the facts that lay behind the talent that was Charles Dickens.

Keith Jahans

This novel is published by David James at Create Space
and is available as a hardback, paperback and ebook