As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Troubadour, 8
July 2015. ISBN: 978 1 784623 197 (PB)
Some self-published books live down to the standard I’ve been led to
expect over the years; others, thank goodness, don’t. The Piltdown Picasso
is one of the second kind.
some ways it’s a classic of its kind: ordinary guy stumbles into a situation
he’s ill-equipped to handle, and through a mixture of initiative and
old-fashioned luck, emerges from it triumphant. The ordinary guy is Matthew
Fairfax, known as Fax, former prison psychologist, now unemployed and of no
fixed abode for reasons which become evident; the situation involves a murdered
TV star and a painting ostensibly worth £25 million.
sets this novel apart from others from a similar mould is that it’s plain from
the outset that the author has done his homework. It’s set in the art world, or
more accurately in the art world’s shady side, and though it’s a world I know
nothing whatever about, the background rang true and the journey through it was
a surefooted one.
journey is something of a romp, written in a jaunty style which hints at the
ridiculous nature of the whole adventure. Our Hero careens from police cell to
posh restaurant to dark alley to private view in an exclusive gallery, and
bounces back from one beating after another with enviable resilience. There’s a
girl, of course: Gabi, a beautician turned personal assistant, who dons the
mantle of efficient businesswoman along with a smart suit and new hairdo and
knows how to get herself out of trouble.
supporting cast is colourful and slightly larger than life, as befits arty
types and heavy-footed policemen. I especially enjoyed Magnus Darbyshire, art
restorer to the Old Masters, who, naturally, would never dream of attempting to
forge a painting; and DCI Burgin, the blinkered cop in pursuit of a murderer,
who refuses to look further than Fax.
ending is both satisfying and suitably dramatic, if a tad predictable by the
time most of the available suspects have either disappeared or been killed off.
If a few loose ends are left dangling and one or two details left unexplained,
it didn’t spoil the page-turning quality of the story.
never did quite work out why a SWAT team was needed to arrest a sleeping man,
but hey, it all added to the fun.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Robin Richards. One day, when he was a bored fourteen year old, Robin
Richards’ mother thrust a copy of Alistair MacLean’s Puppet on a Chain into his hands with the instructions ‘read that.’
From that day on he decided
he would become a crime writer. He has been writing seriously since the 1990s
and was able to increase his output from 2008 when he took early retirement
from his job as a nursing lecturer at the University of Sheffield. His first
book LE-JOG-ed, is an account of his
mid-life trek from Land’s End to John O’Groats which won the Beach Book Festival
award for general non-fiction in 2015 and was a finalist for three other
The Piltdown Picasso published in 2015 is his first crime/thriller which he plans to follow
with the second in this series, Nasty,
Brutal and Short also featuring Matthew (Fax) Fairfax, the disgraced
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.