Mini Mystery – The Wireless Murder

On 13 July 1910, Inspector Walter Dew of Scotland Yard called at 39 Hilldrop Crescent where, in the cellar, he found the remains of Cora Crippen. Married to Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen (pictured), a doctor of homeopathic medicines, Cora had been poisoned with hyoscine, the only time hyoscine has been used to commit murder.

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The Crippen’s marriage had been stormy. A would be music hall singer, Cora had indulged in a number of affairs, while Dr Crippen had taken up with his secretary, Ethel Le Neve, a woman twenty-one years his junior. Inspector Dew suspected Dr Crippen of murder, but he couldn’t locate the doctor.

Meanwhile, on the SS Montrose, a steamship bound for Canada, the ship’s captain, Henry Kendall, became suspicious of two passengers, John Philo Robinson and his sixteen year old ‘son’; rightly so, because Crippen had shaved off his moustache while Ethel had cut her hair short and donned boy’s clothing.

Captain Kendall informed Scotland Yard. In haste, Inspector Dew boarded the SS Laurentic and moments before Dr Crippen and Ethel could disappear into the vast continent of North America, he arrested Crippen, the first man to be captured by wireless telegraphy.

 

Walking Away From Amazon

Interesting how the kaleidoscopic patterns in publishing change. Since July, at least ten of my books have featured regularly in the top fifty in Australia, so Australia is becoming the home of my books. Maybe I will set a Sam Smith story there one day. Also, because Amazon doesn’t have the ability to publish books in numerous languages, and my aim is to publish books in a variety of languages, other retailers are becoming more important. For my paperbacks, Amazon are now irrelevant because Gardners are my main outlet. And the profits from paperback sales easily eclipse the profits from eBook sales. All this is good, methinks. I don’t think in terms of success, I think in terms of enjoyment. And the path I’m following now, away from focusing exclusively on Amazon and eBook sales, is certainly an enjoyable one 🙂

SAVING GRACE AUDIO BOOK

Cover reveal for the audiobook version of Saving Grace. The audiobook will be published in October and will be available from iBooks, etc.

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Cover reveal for the audiobook version of Blackmail, Ann’s War Book Three. Blackmail will be published in November.

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A satisfying weekend for my books with a huge boost in sales on Barnes and Noble, seven titles just outside the top 💯 in Italy, Sam’s Song at #4 in America, Boston a hot 💯 new release and Saving Grace a bestseller also in America. Furthermore, yesterday Sam’s Song was featured alongside Mary Poppins, Janet Evanovich and J.K. Rowling.

27433ACC-2B15-4391-8333-31D4CBBD8852Writing and publishing should be about fun and we had great fun this afternoon recording a video for a leading book promoter. I was chief script writer, autocue operator and camera person while Daniela Jones provided the onscreen talent. The video is with the promoter now and it’s up to him how he will use it, but I hope I can share it with you soon. This video is part of a package that will transform book promoting. Some promoters are elitist and don’t give everyone a fair chance, but soon that will change. The target audience is two million readers. Exciting, I’m sure you will agree.

B321445C-E5E2-4A10-BA1D-AE92DB86C05FMy latest article for the Seaside News.

 

 

 

 

 

Research, Cover Reveals and Translations

Having stepped off the Amazon eBook promotional treadmill, I wondered if I’d want to climb back on. After a period of reflection, the answer is ‘no’. Been there, done that. Why go round in circles when there are so many paths to follow? Besides, I’ve achieved all I want to achieve with eBook sales. Time to move on.

Currently, I’m researching my latest Ann’s War story, Escape. This story is based on a true event, the mass escape of 76 German prisoners of war from Island Farm POW Camp 198. This plan shows the facilities at the camp, which included a concert hall, a coffee shop and a football pitch. You will also notice two escape tunnels indicated on the plan. More of them later.

Island Fam Map

This week, I published Boston, Sam Smith Mystery Series book fourteen. Meanwhile, here is the draft cover for The Devil and Ms Devlin, book fifteen in the series. The Devil and Ms Devlin with be published in the spring of 2019, and will be available for pre-order soon.

The Devil and Ms Devlin eBook Cover

To celebrate the fact that I published four books this week in four different languages – Bulgarian, Dutch, English and French – I have a new section on my website, Translations. You will also find books in Italian and Japanese in this section with many more to follow.

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The Da Vinci Crime

Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic painting, the Mona Lisa, measures just 76 x 53 cm and is owned by the French government. The painting can be found on display in the Louvre. However, on Monday 21st August, during the long hot summer of 1911, it disappeared.

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Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa on wood, not canvas, so the thief had not rolled up the masterpiece. The police found a left hand thumbprint at the scene, but in those days only the prints on the right hand were kept on file. Rewards totalling 80,000 francs were offered, to no avail.

Initially, the French police suspected Pablo Picasso of the theft. He was questioned, but released without charge. Then, two years later, on 10th December 1913, the Mona Lisa reappeared in Florence when a young man, Vincenzo Perugia, tried to sell the painting to an antique dealer for 500,000 lire. The antique dealer summoned the police and they arrested Perugia.

Perugia went on trial in Florence in June 1914. He claimed that he had stolen the Mona Lisa out of patriotic duty. This defence endeared him to the Italian public and he was sentenced to just one year fifteen days imprisonment.

 

 

 

You Say Psychiatrist, I Say Psychologist…

My Sam Smith Mystery Series features psychologist Dr Alan Storey. Occasionally, reviewers refer to Dr Storey as a psychiatrist, which invites the question: what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? 

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour of humans and animals. As a social science the aims of psychology are to understand individuals and groups through a set of general principles and through research into specific cases.

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The roots of psychology can be traced back to the ancient civilisations of China, Egypt, Greece, India and Persia. Aristotle and Plato wrote about the mind while in the 4th century BC, Hippocrates identified that emotional disorders had a physical rather than a supernatural cause. The teachings of Confucius and Buddhism added to our knowledge.

During the Age of Enlightenment, psychology became a ‘hot’ topic. Many notable thinkers, including Rene Descartes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill expressed opinions on the subject. While in the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Revolution invited more radical thought. 

As the tree of psychology grew, inevitably, it developed numerous branches, or schools. These included: Psychodynamic, Behaviourism, Cognitive, Humanistic, Bio-Psychology and Social-Cultural. Dr Alan Storey is a Humanistic Psychologist, someone who believes in an holistic approach to human existence with the emphasis on creativity, free will and the positivity of human potential. Humanists also believe that we need to fulfill an hierarchy of needs, outlined in the graphic below, before we can achieve self-actualisation, the process of realising and expressing our capabilities and creativity.

DEC7E734-4C7E-4E43-B5DF-AB30C2D20FC9In contrast, psychiatry is a medical discipline devoted to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental disorders. These disorders include various problems related to behaviour, cognition, mood and perceptions.

The earliest known texts on mental health stem from Ancient India. Indeed, psychiatric hospitals were established in India in the 3rd century BC. Moving through the centuries, specialist hospitals such as the Bethlem Royal Hospital were established in medieval London.

By the turn of the eighteenth century, asylums were rare. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century they had become familiar landmarks on the landscape. Psychiatrists believed that asylums were the answer. Unfortunately, these asylums created problems such as institutionalism, which led, in the late twentieth century, to more enlightened thinking and a wider range of treatment options for the patient.

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So, to answer our initial question, what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? Psychologists focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with behavioral intervention. Whereas, through their medical training, psychiatrists can prescribe medications and therefore they spend some of their time with patients on medication management as a course of treatment.

For detailed advice about psychological and psychiatric issues please visit your medical practitioner or the BetterHelp website.

The First Great Train Robbery

On the night of 15th May 1855, three boxes of gold, valued at over one million pounds in today’s money, were placed aboard the guard’s van at London Bridge Station. However, when the boxes arrived in Paris, railway officials discovered that lead shot had replaced the gold. Who had carried out this audacious robbery? Investigator Mr Rees was put on the case.

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The trail led to Pentonville prison where Edward Agar, a professional criminal, was awaiting transportation to Australia for passing false cheques. In fact, he’d been set up by a fellow thief because of his affair with the thief’s mistress. Bitter about the set up, Agar confessed to the robbery, implicating his former mates and revealing that there was no honour amongst this gang of thieves.

Until Agar’s confession, the authorities had been clueless, the French blaming the English and the English blaming the French in comical fashion. However, love and lust are no laughing matter, as Agar later discovered when he succumbed to the charms of his erstwhile mistress.

In 1979, a film starring Sean Connery presented a highly fictionalised version of events where the master criminal escaped.