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Tuesday 31 March 2020

Peter Tickler-Self-isolation brings Opportunities

 Talking Crime Fiction

Peter is a writer who specialises in crime fiction set in Oxford.

Our world has transformed in a few fast-moving weeks. A month ago, I was taking part in the Mystery Fest in Portsmouth and looking forward to a city break in Barcelona. Now like everyone else in the UK (and many other countries too) we are in lockdown. The Spanish holiday (a gift from two of our children) has disappeared. And I am wondering what to do. We are lucky enough to have a garden, but I have done all I can there for now – until the vegetable seeds and some plants appear in our porch.

‘You should go live streaming’ says my youngest son, the one who works in the film business.

‘What exactly is live streaming?’

‘Talking live to your readers.’

 ‘Really? It sounds … complicated.’

‘It’s easy, dad.’

I am dubious. Not just about the technology, but about the audience. Will there be any? Will anyone be interested. I tell him that.

‘There’s only one way to find out,’ he insists.


‘Get yourself out there. You’ve talked to enough Women’s Institutes and libraries in your time.’

‘I suppose so.’

‘And when you’ve done it, you have to share and tweet and spread the word. It’s about “growing your market”.’

Those words hang heavy in the air. I’m a writer. Not a marketeer.

‘Well, are you going to do it or not?’ My son is like a dog with a bone. And I suspect that at this point I am that bone.

‘All right!’ I snap.

Well I did as I was told. On Monday 30 March, at 8.00 p.m. in the UK, I did my first live streaming on Facebook, on “Beginnings”. And I’ll be doing another one on writing crime fiction every Monday until I run out of things to say. Do join me!

And if you missed the live showing, well they will all be available to view under my videos on Facebook.

‘Close to The Edge’ by Toby Faber

Published by Muswell Press,
March 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-999313-52-4 (PB)

The book opens with Laurie running away from two men on the Underground at 2.45a.m. She goes down into the tunnel itself towards King's Cross and hides a key she has with her then carries on running.

We then go back six days and Laurie is on the platform at Euston Underground station waiting to catch a train to work. She has cycled that far but the chain keeps coming off her bike, so she has left it in the cycle rack at the station. She witnesses a man falling from the platform and under a train. She reports what she saw to the police, but they are convinced he committed suicide and do not intend taking it further. Later that day after work she tries to mend her bicycle when a young man who introduces himself as Paul offers to help, together they fix it.

The next morning, they go for a coffee and then a curry in the evening and she tells him what she witnessed. Laurie later remembers seeing the man drop something from his hand as he fell under the train.

We then go to 27th July when the book opened, Laurie and Paul meet up at Euston Station at 2a.m. She retrieves the key on a fob that the man had dropped. As they make their way back up two men try to stop them, she runs back down, losing Paul. After running through the tunnels she emerges at disused York Road Station, after she has hidden the key. The two of them meet up again and go to her flat.

The next day after checking when the live rail is turned off, Laurie retrieves the key on the fob. After checking the numbers engraved on it she discovers it belongs to the British Library. What had the fallen man been studying? Intrigued now, and as the police are convinced it was suicide Laurie decides to probe further, enlisting the help of her father David and her flatmate Jess.

Little does she realise what grave danger she has now put everyone in. Did the man William Pennington really fall under the train, or was it something more sinister? Laurie certainly makes a discovery that convinces her that the police have got it all wrong. She even begins to doubt Paul, is he all that he seems?

A really gripping thriller with an unusual plot. I'm sure my blood pressure went sky high at reading some of the passages.  I travelled on the London Underground for a few years and it brought it all back, I could even smell it, so good was the description. I really recommend this book unless the reader suffers from claustrophobia!
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Toby Faber was a scientist at university and worked in investment banking and as a management consultant before deciding to accept an invitation to join the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber and Faber. He was there for five years, spending four of them as managing director, before leaving in 2001 to become a full-time writer. He is also chairman of Faber Music. He has written two highly praised works of non-fiction, Stradivarius and Fabergé s Eggs, Close to the Edge is his first novel. He lives in London with his family

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.