Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Blog

Little Happy, happy, happy, happy…

Christmas is coming; I’ll soon be feeling fat. Who’d have thought 2016 would have turned out – puts on Tommy Cooper fez – just like that. Yes, another Christmas is upon us and this most unsettling year is fast coming to a close. Thoughts on past and future are best left to New Year blogs, I feel, so as our wallets empty and our spirits rise, may I wish you all a very happy festive season.

I would also like to thank all those – and I am overwhelmed by how many there have been – who have kindly read and been so positive about The Rock and The Poisoned Rock novels. Tamara Sullivan and Gus Broderick seem to have excited and entertained many readers over the past year, and their Gibraltar murder investigations continue next year with the publication of The Killing Rock. If you are not already a subscriber to the series, please click on “Become a VIP” here or above and pick up a free Sullivan and Broderick ghost story set on Gibraltar. Christmas is a time for ghost stories, and hopefully, Tunnel Vision will send a tingle down your spine.

Other breaking news is the announcement of a new, stand-alone, thriller. Progeny will tell the story of a major serial killer investigation. Chief Inspector Izi Afolabi and D.S Leyland Flynn of the London Metropolitan Police Service, lead an increasingly desperate investigation into a series of murders being carried out in different countries by a deranged and ruthless killer. The murderer always uses the same distinctive modus operandi, but nothing else seems to add up, as the two detectives fight to stop a killing spree that appears to have no rhyme or reasons.

Progeny will be published early summer 2017.

On the recent acting front, I had a very pleasant November working on Midsomer Murders. Can’t believe it’s nearly ten years since I paid my last visit to the murder capital of Britain. Neil Dudgeon leads the show now and, like John Nettles before him, makes a splendid job of things.

I am now getting ready to film An Unkind Word, in which I play the least sexy MP in Parliament. Shouldn’t be much of a challenge after my Christmas indulgencies are completed.

To finish, here’s one of my favourite Christmas stories. A Leeds primary school was staging its Christmas Nativity play. The cast of ten-year-old students had rehearsed the modern dress production for weeks, and the first, and only performance was underway before a packed school hall of semi-anxious parents. After the birth of Jesus in a barn, the later scenes of the play unusually portrayed Mary and Joseph bringing up the young Jesus. The teachers had also encouraged their pupils to improvise text if they felt so inclined.

As the curtains parted for the last scene of the play, the audience were greeted by the sight of Mary, at home, doing some ironing. Enter Joseph after a busy day at work. He drops his tool bag by the door, takes off his coat and turns to his wife…

JOSEPH: So Mary, how’s our Jesus been then?

Mary puts down her iron, wipes her brow and replies…

MARY:   Don’t talk to me about Jesus. He’s been a right little bugger all day!

Happy Christmas everyone and as the late, great Dave Allen used to say…may your God go with you.

The Rock – You may think you know it, but…

British under the Mediterranean sun.

The Rock of Gibraltar

‘…the very image of an enormous lion,
crouched between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean’.
William Makepeace Thackeray

‘Forget red phone boxes and fish-and-chip shops – the modern urban landscape of Gibraltar is a unique blend of Moorish, Genoese, Spanish, Portuguese and British styles developed by settlers over centuries. British military tropes have fused with diverse culture and regional styles to create a unique vernacular. Gibraltar’s Architecture makes it a place like no other on earth.’
From The New Statesman

‘One genre where Gibraltar is particularly in evidence is crime fiction. Arguably Britain’s greatest living crime writer (some might drop the ‘crime’ prefix), John Le Carré, set part of his latest novel, A Delicate Truth, in Gib and Stieg Larson did the same in the last book of his bestselling Millennium Trilogy. Robert Daws, a well known actor, has launched a crime series set on the Rock featuring a Scotland yard officer, Tamara Sullivan, and a grizzled Royal Gibraltar police Chief Inspector, Gus Broderick, which is proving hugely popular.’

So what’s behind the boom?

One aspect is Gibraltar’s variety of life. A crime hero tends to move between different strata of society over the course of an investigation. Gibraltar’s unique blend of nationalities, religions and heritage is all crammed into a small space. Rich and poor, party animal and traditionalist – all walks of life are to be found there.

Another draw is history. There are so many tales of bloody goings-on in Gibraltar – from Herculean feats, to Moorish invaders, Anglo Dutch-Invaders, World War 2 spy intrigues…the list, as anyone who lives in Gibraltar knows, goes on and on. And each has the potential for a fascinating plot line.

Crime heroes need to be tough, resilient and adaptable. Given the background of many Gibraltarians, these attributes come fitted as standard.’

From The Gibraltar Chronicle – Thomas Mogford, author of the Gib based ‘Spike Sanquinetti’ novels.

The Royal Gibraltar Police Force

Law and order on the Rock are served by the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP). Outside of the United Kingdom, the RGP is the oldest police force in the Commonwealth of Nations, formed shortly after the creation of London’s Metropolitan Police in 1829.

The Gibraltar force follows the British model in dress, operational structure and procedures. The vehicles also appear virtually identical to typical UK police vehicles, with the exception of the drive side.The Rock w NEW Cover

The force currently numbers 270 officers divided into a number of units. These include CID, Drug Squad, Special Branch, Firearms and Scene of Crime Examiners, The role of the RGP Marine Section is to enforce the law in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. It plays a vital role in anti-drug and people smuggling activities and works in close co-operation with other international agencies.

The Modern Day Rock

Arriving in Gibraltar visitors are immediately awestruck by the sheer majesty of the Jurassic limestone Rock that dominates the horizon. The Rock has attracted visitors throughout the centuries, all drawn to its unique charm and character.

Strategically situated on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, the British Overseas Territory is almost entirely surrounded by water other than the narrow isthmus which links it to mainland Spain. Gibraltar is only seven kilometres in circumference on the outside, but inside lies a myriad of caves and tunnels that stretch for almost fifty kilometres. Herein lie some of Gibraltar’s biggest mysteries and secrets.

The Rock is rich in beauty, natural heritage, architecture and wildlife. Its history of Moorish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and British influences, together with its strategic importance at the gateway to the Mediterranean and its closeness to Africa, makes Gibraltar utterly unique.

Today, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory whose citizens have full British citizenship. It has almost complete internal democratic self-government through an elected parliament, whilst its head of state is Queen Elizabeth the Second, who is represented by the Governor of Gibraltar.

The British military once dominated Gibraltar’s economy, with the naval dockyard providing the bulk of economic activity. This, however, has diminished over the last twenty years from 60% to just 7% of the local economy. Today, Gibraltar’s economy is dominated by four main sectors: financial services, internet gaming, shipping and tourism. Its growing reputation as one of the world’s leading banking and financial service centres has brought a huge increase in multi-million pound business and investment to the Rock.

Tourism also brings nearly ten million visitors to the Rock each year, attracted to the Rock’s beauty, history, climate and VAT free shopping. Many visitors enjoy shopping in Main Street, one of the most famous streets in Europe, upon which they can find Marks and Spencers, Mothercare and British Home Stores. Add some typical English pubs, tax free shops and local cafes, together with some of Gib’s finest squares and cathedrals and you have a bustling and colourful Mediterranean scene with a very British twist. Visitors are also thrilled to see the Brunswick Star on Royal Gibraltar Police Force helmets – the traditional badge of the British ‘bobby on the beat’ – as well as the familiar sight of red phone boxes. It is not for nothing that Gibraltar is often described as ‘Britain in the Sun’. With over three hundred days of sunshine each year and the renowned warmth and generosity of the Gibraltar people themselves, that comes as no surprise.

Gibraltar is also the number one destination in the Mediterranean for cruise ships and a major port for container ships of all sizes. It is a maritime centre of excellence which continues to grow in size and importance.

Present day Gibraltar is an exciting and growing hub of the Mediterranean. There is continued land reclamation of the Bay of Gibraltar and the luxury apartments, international business centres, restaurants and shopping centres that have sprung up in recent years are a testament to the strong and wealthy economy that Gibraltar enjoys.

The serious problems the sovereign state must deal with include those of drug smuggling, money laundering, fraud, murder, international crime syndicates, terrorism and a myriad of other illegal activities generated both online and off. At the forefront of the fight against crime is the RGP and the Gibraltar Justice system – linked to the UK’s in every detail.

Politically, Gibraltar has held firm against Spanish demands for an end to the Rock’s British sovereignty. The people of modern day Gibraltar have a heritage drawn from many countries and religions. Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Maltese, Moroccan and British to name but a few. Muslims, Catholics, Jews and Anglicans worship side by side in perfect harmony on the Rock. Gibraltar is determined to remain a British Overseas Territory and with over ninety percent of its citizens voting do so at the last referendum, it is a position that is very unlikely to change.

For the past three hundred years Gibraltar has had many incarnations – as the greatest fortress in the world, as a place of refuge for the oppressed, as a staging post of Empire, trade and travel.

Today Gibraltar is a proud home for a rich fusion of faiths and cultures – a great city state, which provides employment and support for both its own people, as well as those from a wide surrounding hinterland and millions of yearly visitors.

Gibraltar’s unique position, at the crossroads of Europe and Africa, makes it one of the most interesting and culturally diverse places in the world. A short ferry ride takes you to Morocco with its exotic souks, and the neighbouring coastline of Spain offers access to some of the worlds most beautiful sights in the ‘white towns’ and majestic countryside of Andalusia.

For many years the Rock was ‘stuck in time’. Those days have mostly vanished, to be replaced by a fast moving and very modern city state and port. Its modern, highly professional and growing police force is one of the essential building blocks upon which it grows and prospers.

—————–

Notes from Rock Central

So much has been happening here at Rock Central since the release of The Poisoned Rock back in September! I’ve been thrilled by the wonderful response the book has received, debuting in the Top 75 on Amazon and receiving so many kind 5-Star reviews. Tremendous thanks to everyone who has bought the book and left a review on Amazon.

Along with keeping busy with acting projects and promoting the current book, I’ve been working on the next volume, ‘The Killing Rock’, which I plan to have out early in the new year. I hope you all will enjoy it as much as the first two books, as I’m really eager to share it with you.

I’ve also started a new series of videos on YouTube about the writing process. My first video: Shaping the Story is already available to watch, and the next one focusing on the Life of a Writer will be following shortly. I invite you all to take a look and also to send me any questions you may have about the writing and publishing process (either in the comments below the videos or by email to info@robertdaws.net), and I will try answer as many of your questions as I can in upcoming videos.

The Rock with NEW Cover

The Rock’s new cover.

Do you like a spooky story? Recently, I was inspired by the Halloween season to pen a haunting tale about Tamara Sullivan and an eerie encounter on the Rock. If you haven’t yet read Tunnel Vision, all you need do is join my VIP Club and download the e-book for FREE.

Lastly, I’m pleased to reveal that I have released an updated cover for The Rock! I commissioned the talented folks at The Cover Collection to give the novella a new look. I also took the opportunity to add a few small changes to the text. It was great to go back to Sullivan’s first arrival in Gibraltar and her meeting with Gus Broderick.

Thanks again for your support and please spread the word to your fellow crime and mystery readers.

All the best,

Robert

‘The Poisoned Rock’ is out and you can Win a Kindle Fire Tablet!

The Poisoned Rock is out and you can win a Kindle Fire Tablet!

Win a Kindle Fire Tablet today!

Today is the big day! The Poisoned Rock is out on Amazon and we’re celebrating by giving away a Kindle Fire Tablet (7″, Wi-Fi, 8MB) to one lucky reader who leaves a review (just your honest opinion) on Amazon BEFORE Midnight (GMT) on Saturday 1 October!

Robert will pull a name out of a hat and announce the winner, Sunday 2 October, LIVE on Facebook! Don’t miss your chance for a scorching read and the chance to WIN a KINDLE FIRE TABLET!

Just click the link below and grab your copy of The Poisoned Rock TODAY on Amazon!

Click here to buy The Poisoned Rock on Amazon!

Click here to buy The Poisoned Rock on Amazon!

 

Contest Terms and Conditions are as follows:

The contest is open to UK residents only and runs from Wednesday, 14 September to 11:59 pm Saturday, 1 October, 2016. Anyone entering after this time will not be eligible for the prize. Only one entry per person will be allowed. The winner’s name will be drawn at random and announced LIVE on Facebook on Sunday, 2 October. It is the responsibility of the winner to contact us at: info@robertdaws.net to provide shipping details for the prize.