Win tickets for Alan Ayckbourn comedy classic.

Hello All.

Firstly, a big thank you to all new subscribers. Also, apologies for not being in touch sooner. It’s been a very busy and exciting time, and I’ve been rushed off my feet. As some of you will know, both The Rock and The Poisoned Rock have been shooting up the Amazon bestseller lists this last week. The Rock spent nearly a week at number one in both the USA and UK charts for Mystery and Crime. It also did much the same in Canada, India, and Japan. Thrilling.

A big thank you to all who have read the books and spread the word.

Next up is a little competition. I am offering two tickets for the national tour of ‘How The Other Half Love’ this autumn to the first name I draw from the hat of new Amazon reviewers of The Poisoned Rock. Anyone writing a review of the book from today, 28th June, will have their names placed in the draw – which will take place on the 12th July. All you have to do is write an Amazon review for the book and then leave me a confirmation message on the robertdaws.net website.

The play is a wonderful Alan Ayckbourn comedy and I look forward to meeting the winners at the end the performance. For more information about the show and the dates and theatres we visit, check online at billkenwright.com or on Google at How The Other Half Loves Tour 2017.

Thank you once again for your support and good luck!

 

 

 

Rock and Row

Over the years, I have been surprised to hear many people state that they thought Gibraltar was in Spain. I have even been told, quite earnestly, on a couple of occasions that Gib was in Africa. Well, after watching the news this weekend, those geography challenged folk will have a better understanding not only of Gibraltar’s location, but of its politics and people.

For those not in the know, Gib is a British Overseas Territory. It has its own parliament and ministers and runs its own independent economy. However, in matters concerning foreign policy and defence, it looks to the UK. This is a greatly simplified description of the close relationship the Rock has with Britain, but it’s a good start for those wondering what all the fuss is about.

Spain has long wished to exert sovereignty over Gibraltar – seeing it as historically theirs and a modern-day affront to their national identity. Many Spaniards are not so much interested in planting their flag on the Rock as they are stopping Gib’s base as a tax haven. A situation they view as being detrimental to Spain. Gib has also been a go to tub-thumping subject to deflect unpleasant political situations in Madrid and Spain as a whole.

Gibraltarians see things very differently. They have a long and loyal relationship with the UK, as well as a thriving and prosperous economy. The last referendum on this issue resulted in 96% of Gibraltarians voting to remain with the UK. The British Government’s stance is that sovereignty of Gibraltar will not change without the support and consent of the people of Gibraltar. The people of the Rock also voted in huge numbers to remain in Europe.

Now the EU has got behind Spain’s requests for sovereignty over Gib and the first major hitch – one of very many I predict – to the UK’s Brexit negotiations has thrown the whole problem into sharp relief. It is going to be difficult. Many Gibraltarians remember the harsh years of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when Franco brought much hardship to the Rock by closing its borders to Gib. Spain also caused much hardship to its own citizens by this action, something Franco was seemingly happy to tolerate.

Their are voices that suggest a joint sovereignty between the UK and Spain would be best. It is a view that finds meagre support in Gibraltar. To my mind, the situation has to be decided by Gibraltarians themselves. They must not be used as a pawn in an exercise of tit for tat negotiations between the EU, Spain and the UK. Sabre-rattling by some in the UK and others in Spain will not aid this. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo QC, spoke eloquently and passionately this weekend. He and his fellow Gibraltarians must be listened to. It is their right.

 

Spring Forward

The news that my two Sullivan and Broderick books are to be published in print this April, is probably old news to some of you. Apologies for repetition.

I am delighted to have become one of Urbane Publications new crime authors and thrilled to be working with Matthew Smith and his team. Publication launch is on April 13th, with a launch party in London in early May. The fact that Matthew chose to publish both the novella – The Rock – and the novel – The Poisoned Rock – together and on the same day, caught me by surprise and certainly put a spring in my step. It also means that from Apri/May both of the Sullivan and Broderick murder mysteries will be available in bookshops and through Urbane Publications direct. In the words of PG Wodehouse, ‘What oooh Jah come spiffing fun.’

To all those who have subscribed to my VIP mailing list, many thanks. I hope you have downloaded your free ghost story and enjoyed the first two books of the Gibraltar series. I am currently halfway through the new book – The Killing Rock – and busy working on a stand-alone thriller entitled Progeny. I’m not sure which of these will be published first, but the hope is they will both be ready for the autumn.

There’s lots of other exciting news coming up, which I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks. In the meantime, thanks for reading and enjoy the cherry blossom while it lasts.

Up to Christmas

Very disappointed not to be able to visit the terrific @GibraltarLitFest this year. It is a first class event, attracting wonderful authors from around the world.
My reasons for not attending are happy ones, in that they are due to work commitments. I’ve been flat out promoting my new novel, ‘The Poisoned Rock’ and my short ghost story, ‘Tunnel Vision’. Along with this, I am about to make a visit to ‘Midsomer’, which will keep me busy to the end of November, when I start filming ‘An Unkind Word’. Lovely parts to play in both and a nice time of year to be out on location.
Would still like to be strolling down Main Street in Gibraltar Town, the sun on my face and bag full of great books purchased at the Gib Fest bookshop in hand. You can’t have it all. After all, where would you put it?

The Modern Rock and Crime Fiction

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 Carre, 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
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 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.

—————–

The Rock, Poisoned Rock and Murder Mystery Plays

Am currently touring with the newly formed Classic Thriller Company. Rehearsal for Murder is a play set in London’s West End and is a piece written by the creators of Columbo and Murder She Wrote. Although a critically unfashionable genre, the stage thriller seems to be hugely popular with audiences around the country. Happily we are playing to terrific houses and the response is greatly encouraging for the company and all involved in it.

With my second Sullivan and Broderick murder mystery – The Poisoned Rock – about to be published on Kindle and a third being edited, I’m pretty much overwhelmed with clues, plot twists and cunning psychopaths to hunt down. My first crime novella – The Rock – is also being developed for television and moving at quite a swift pace. I’m very much enjoying the collaboration and plethora of exciting ideas the process is generating. Hopefully, Sullivan and Broderick of the Royal Gibraltar Police Force will have both a screen and page life to look forward to. The result of all this is that I am slowly being dragged into the modern age with both a Twitter and Facebook Author’s Page. For an old fashioned boy, it’s all a bit ‘Beam me up Scotty’.