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.

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