Nov 11

Future Plans

Today I can announce that, after some 52 years in the law (counting my time as a student) I shall be retiring from the law on 27 November 2015.  I shall NOT, of course, be retiring from anything else!  Indeed, I am looking forward to having more time to write.

I have been privileged to have had a most interesting career, which has involved me in practice and teaching both in the UK and the United States; in almost a decade as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague; and for the last eight years as a judge of the Crown Court.  I leave all this behind with some sadness, but with great gratitude for having such varied experiences.  My wife Chris, whom I met during my work in the US, has been my supporter, being willing to undertake adventures such as living in new countries, in a way I suspect few women would, and I owe her a debt I can never repay.

Now, to the future.  I am about to deliver the next Ben Schroeder novel to No Exit Press.  It is entitled The Heirs of Owen Glyndwr, and involves Ben in defending Arianwen Hughes, a woman accused of a terrorist act in connection with the Investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle on 1July 1969.  The key to her defence  may be her husband Trevor.  But he seems to have vanished from the face of the earth.  The evidence against Arianwen is compelling, and Ben will have the fight of his life to save her.  It is to be published next year, and I hope you will all give it a try.

With my new extra time, I am planning to expand my writing, and I hope to announce details of this in the New Year!

Nov 03

A Great Evening at Malaprops

On Wednesday 21 October, I gave a talk and reading from And is there Honey still for Tea? at Malaprops book store in Asheville, North Carolina.  My wife Chris and I were staying with our friends Joan and Mark, who have a magnificent house in this lively town.  Asheville is something of a cultural centre, with many artists in residence – and a flourishing, nationally known micro-brewery scene!  The downtown buildings have been wonderfully preserved to give it the feel of an older American town, and as Asheville nestles in the mountains, the fall leaves provided a beautiful range of colours.  Malaprops is a marvel.  It’s not a huge store, but it is very lively, with events going on all the time, and it is good to see an independent bookstore doing so well in the present climate.  I was delighted to note the “banned books” section, presenting a defiant challenge to censorship, which remains a threat in so many places, not least America.  The event was a great success, with about 40 people attending, and it was fun to see my book for sale in an American store again.  Thanks to everyone at Malaprops, especially Cindy and Hannah, who made me feel so welcome, and a huge thank you to Joan and Mark, who went out of their way to organize a wine and cheese reception before the business of the evening got underway.  Joan’s book club, who are loyal fans, attended in force, and we had an informal talk on the following evening.  There should be some pictures, and I will post them as soon as I can!

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Oct 09

Old Bridge Literary Dinner to become an Annual Event!

The Old Bridge Hotel HuntingdonPeter Murphy and Miranda Carter InviteFollowing the success of the literary dinner at Huntingdon’s famous Old Bridge Hotel on Friday 25 September, owner John Hoskins has said that it should become an annual event.  Like the dinner last year, this one sold out within a few days of being advertised on the hotel’s website, and only limitations of space in the dining room prevented John from taking more bookings.  This year, the dinner had the title of ‘Too Close to Home: the Cambridge Spies in Fact and Fiction’.  My readers will guess from this that I focused on And is there Honey still for Tea?  But this year, I was not alone.  Miranda Carter, author of Anthony Blunt; his Lives, the definitive biography of Blunt, joined me, and we discussed the spies historically and as literary figures.  For the first time, I also revealed the graphic I made for myself while researching my novel, which shows in the form of a chart for the period 1930-1965, how these men’s lives were intertwined, both professionally and socially.  Miranda is a wonderful speaker, and in addition to her biographical and historical work, is writing detective novels set in the Victorian era.  If you haven’t tried her work, please do.  It’s fascinating.  As ever, John’s selection of dishes and wine was fabulous, with the result that all the diners were in a good mood when we started speaking!  John has asked me to think about another speaker for next year, and I may have ideas about that once I have finished the next in the Ben Schroeder series.  Expect an announcement about that imminently!

Oct 09

A Delightful Evening in Ramsey

On Thursday 17 September, I had the pleasure of visiting the library at Ramsey in rural Cambridgeshire.  Whenever I speak at a library I am reminded of the amazing job the staff and volunteers do in keeping these essential public services open and flourishing, in the face of relentless cuts and the onward march of online technology.  The library in this small community is an example to all.  I spoke about my work, and particularly And is there Honey still for Tea?  The enthusiastic audience – more than I had anticipated – included a lady who confided her age of 95 and a gentleman from Holland, who, needless to say, speaks perfect English.  Enthusiasm was such that my publishers had not sent enough books, and we had to take orders for further autographed books to be supplied after the event.  Just as satisfying were the penetrating questions thrown at me.  Altogether a delightful evening.  Thanks to Jean Chittim for organizing and inviting me, and for the staff who made me so welcome.

Aug 28

Time to Get Your Tickets for Cambridge Spies Evening at the Old Bridge!

Tickets are now on sale for ‘A Bit Too Close to Home’, a literary supper at the Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon.  Details from the Old Bridge’s website, see below.  This promises to be a great evening.  For those who don’t know it, the Old Bridge has a wonderful cuisine and boasts one of the finest wine cellars in England.  Master of Wine John Hoskins is in charge of food and drink, and if you have been there before, you know you won’t be disappointed.  Miranda Carter and I will be looking at the Cambridge Spies in fact (MIranda) and fiction (me) and signing copies of our books.  Book now – John is expecting tickets to sell quickly!

Peter Murphy and Miranda Carter Invite

Aug 28

For my American Fans an evening at Malaprop’s in Asheville NC

Ever since my first novel, Removal, was published by Skyhorse Publishing of New York, I have had a small but loyal following in the United States.  I spent a number of years there, in California and Texas, during my earlier career and have many fond memories.  On the evening of Wednesday October 21, I will be back, giving a talk at Malaprop’s, a nationally famous independent book store in Asheville, North Carolina.  I will be signing books and talking about my work, probably mostly about And is there Honey still for Tea?  America has a great interest in the Cambridge Spies, because its own security, not only ours, was compromised by their betrayals.  Malaprop’s is an amazing, long-established store, which features a great selection of books and has a fine coffee shop in which to enjoy reading them.  They are very active with events, and are a great resource for authors and book-lovers alike.  The event will start at 7 pm.  The store is situated at 55 Haywood Street, in the town center.  So if you are in the neighborhood, why not drop in? Check for details, location, and how to get tickets on Malaprop’s website: www.malaprops.com.

Jul 18

A Date for your Diary: 25 September for Literary Dinner at the Old Bridge!

Last year, I joined forces with John Hoskins, owner of the Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon, for a literary dinner. (See my archived post for 22 March 2014.) I believe it was the first of its kind for the hotel. The event sold out and was a huge success. John has now kindly agreed to host a second dinner on Friday 25 September.  For those of you who do not know John or the Old Bridge, the food is spectacular, and as a master of wine, John will introduce you to a variety of great wines with dinner.  On the last occasion, A Matter for the Jury had just been published, and as it is set in Huntingdon and St. Ives, it attracted a good deal of local interest.  And is there Honey still for Tea? is also a local book in many ways, as it concerns the Cambridge spies, but we also hope to attract a wider audience, as the spies remain a fascinating subject for so many people.  I am hoping that we can lure a non-fiction writer to the dinner also.  I can’t say anything as yet, but we are approaching one or two who have written important books about the spies, so that we can look at it from both the fiction and non-fiction point of view.  More information when available.

Please put 25 September in your diary, and keep your eye on the Old Bridge website, from which tickets must be purchased in advance.  The website is: www.Huntsbridge.com.

 

The Old Bridge Hotel Huntingdon

Jul 18

A Warm Summer Evening at Heffers

On Thursday, 16 July, I was back at Heffers for their excellent summer crime festival, in company with a number of other local authors.  As ever, Richard Reynolds organized the evening with his customary panache, and devised a challenging quiz for guests which guaranteed that they would meet all of us.  I was the key to question 17, which asked the guest to identify the third book in the Ben Schroeder series.  (The answer, of course, is And is there Honey still for Tea?  See below.)  I am pleased to say that I was able to sign quite a few books as a result.  It was very pleasant also to recognize some familiar faces.  Heffers events are deservedly popular in and around Cambridge, and I am beginning to get to know some of those who come regularly, when they come and re-introduce themselves.  It was a warm evening with a number of hand-held fans in evidence, but an impressive number of book lovers chose to spend their evening indoors with the authors – and with the additional consolation of some delicious summer wine to refresh any drooping spirits.  Again, many thanks and congratulations to Richard, Kate Fleet, and everyone at Heffers for yet another great occasion!

The answer to question 17 …

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Jun 01

The Young Reader Trend Continues!

Those of you who saw my post of 22 October last year know that Arlo is my youngest fan.  But Sam, my brother Paul’s grandson, seen here with his mother Fliss, is a close second.  Sam says he enjoyed Honey, but could No Exit Press please publish a waterproof edition he can read in the bath.  I have passed the message on, but no word so far!

 

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May 09

A Great Week of Publicity for Honey!

It has been a great week of publicity for ‘And is there Honey Still for Tea?‘.  Following Emma Higginbotham’s feature in the Cambridge News (see earlier post) there was an article in the Hunts Post.  This has been followed by an interview-style piece in the Huffington Post, and short but favourable reviews in two major national newspapers, by Barry Forshaw in the Independent and by Marcel Berlins in the Times.  The Independent called it a ‘clever legal thriller’, while the Times said it was ‘an intelligent amalgam of spy story and legal drama’.  Because the game of chess features so strongly in Honey, it is attracting some attention in chess circles.  Chess, the leading UK periodical, will publish an article about the book and about me in the June or July issue. There is a nice groundswell building under this book.  If you have enjoyed it, please spread the word!  .