Friday, 28 December 2012


I don't know what the full moon portends - my daughter said it was madness; I thought it affected the tides. Cornwall is surrounded by water - English Channel to the south, Atlantic Ocean to the west, the River Tamar splicing us from Devon. There has been a lot of rainfall lately and the waters are rising.

Some things don't change. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols doesn't change, except this year, the Dean and members of the Chapter were handing out mince pies and hot spiced apple juice to the people queuing to get in last Sunday. (This service is so popular, they repeat it on Christmas Eve.)  The shopping frenzy doesn't change - food halls crammed before Christmas, shops opening their doors at 6am for the Boxing Day sales.  What changes then? The weather, the moon, the tides. They change,  and the news, of course. The news always changes, irrespective of our attempts to stay it with a few days in front of the TV or at the sales. But I love Christmas because it is, in spite of everything, a respite, one of those Magic Mountain moments in which time contracts and shuts out the never ending march towards the future -   Janus, the two-headed Roman god who can look both forwards and backwards, but who gave us January.

And I look backwards to those friends of mine who have been having cancer treatment this year, and forwards to those who will have treatment next year for cancer and cardiovascular disease and who, like me, will still be here seven years later, not just because of medical intervention but because they still have things to do which carry them forward and infuse them with hope and will and a sense of the ineffable.

Full Moon over Truro on Christmas night. (Morgellyn)


My relaunched title 'Grave Truths' is now available on Amazon Kindle. Click the link below for a sample:

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Recent events in Connecticut made me think of A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim, the child without a future:

"God bless us, everyone"

God bless us, everyone and Happy Christmas.

photo by Cara Loukes

Thursday, 6 December 2012


My new e-book,  launched yesterday by Endeavour Press,  is now available on Amazon.

Readers of this blog may know that I write psychological thrillers involving the dead  (victims of murder, victims of social neglect,  sudden heart attacks, dramatic suicides). They are commercial but serious in tone - at least that was my intention when I wrote them. I'm now flattered to see my new publishers (Endeavour Press)  comparing me with Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs in the Amazon publicity.

What I want to say to anyone reading this post who may be having cancer treatment or just had a new diagnosis, is that my books are most definitely not inspired by cancer but by my long career as a flaneur -  a term defined by the French poet Baudelaire as someone who wanders the streets of a great city, constantly observing the crowds who pass by and inventing stories about them.  I started doing this when I first lived in Paris  as a teenager and sat for hours in cafes watching 'le grand spectacle' of people walking up and down the boulevards, and listening in to their conversations - often startling and always disjointed and surreal because,  as an eavesdropper,  I only ever caught the gist of what was going on.  I slid easily into the psychological thriller genre perhaps because it seemed to develop naturally from my observations of big city life.  All my novels are set in London, where I lived and worked for nearly twenty years and which continues to inspire me every time I go up there, which is often, because  I always find something new. London is the focus of my inspiration and Cornwall is my writing base. I find it difficult to write stories about Cornwall because it has never presented me with any tensions - apart from my hospital treatments. And therein lies the single link my fiction-writing has with cancer.  When I was recovering from chemo, neurosurgery et al,  I was unable to write at all and lay staring the oak outside my window, dreaming up dark tales...