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This is the Story of Mike’s Ceiling.

This is the story of Mike’s ceiling. I moved to Portugal in 1989 with my wife, Jane, after we’d been travelling for a year through Africa. On our first day in a rented house high up in the Serra da Sintra we met Nucha, a Portuguese writer, who was married to an abstract landscape artist, Michael Biberstein. We became friends. A few years later, disturbed by the crowds taking advantage of the new motorway from Lisbon to Sintra, we moved to an isolated farmhouse in the rural Alentejo. Some years after that Mike and Nucha found their own isolated millhouse … CONTINUE READING

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I knew Andy Murray was going to be all right this year when I found I could watch him without writhing in my seat. Even when he was two sets down against the awkward Verdasco I never doubted that he would come back. There was a maturity about him which had been absent in many of his earlier Wimbledon encounters. He was still getting frustrated, even in that mesemrizing final, as any player would under the circs, but it was out and gone. No energy was expended on what had past, all energy was directed to the next point. It … CONTINUE READING

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My German publishers, Goldmann/Page & Turner, have just announced the title and publication date of the German translation of Capital Punishment. The title in German will be ‘Stirb für mich’, which means ‘Die for Me’, a great title especially as the next Charles Boxer book due out in the UK is called ‘You Will Never Find Me’. The publication date in Germany is set for August 19th 2013. Here is the front cover:

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We saw Zero Dark Thirty last night. For once a US action thriller turns out not to be a propaganda vehicle for the American way, but rather the opposite. First of all, the world’s greatest spy agency takes ten years to track down their Public Enemy No. 1. At the outset they use extraordinary rendition and torture in order to achieve this. It is not a successful strategy and has deleterious effects on morale. There is quite a high level of incompetence (allowing a dubious source into a military compound without any form of search resulting in multiple deaths) and … CONTINUE READING

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We finished watching the first series of Borgen the other night. I can’t remember any British series over the last 20 years having so engaged me as did this Danish political drama. Watching it just made me think how mediocre is the fare we’re served up night after night in the UK. The writing is terrific with such subtle characterization, which in turn seems to provoke superb acting. What I really appreciated was that they played out all the difficult scenes and they were in no hurry. It takes all ten episodes for the post election joy to turn into … CONTINUE READING

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Having written novels set in West Africa, Lisbon and Seville, I was asked recently why I had chosen to set my latest thriller, Capital Punishment, in the ‘less exotic’ location of London. I was amazed as, over the years, London to me has become increasingly exotic as its population has expanded, sucking in people from all over the world. Being an outsider for many years helped me to look at London with fresh eyes. As an insider, in the 1980s, I only connected with the ‘village’ where I lived, my office, the pubs and restaurants where I met friends. So … CONTINUE READING

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To those of you who have tried to go to Waterstones to buy a copy of my latest novel, Capital Punishment, and been told that they are not stocking this book, here is the explanation: The order for CP was sent to Waterstones in good time for publication day but it was, unfortunately, on the same pallet as another publisher’s books which they had asked to be withdrawn. The CP order was therefore rejected and sent back to the warehouse along with the other publisher’s books. The error has now been ‘discovered’ and put right and the CAPITAL PUNISHMENT will … CONTINUE READING

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I saw C4’s Guru-Murthy taking several broadsides from Tarantino in an interview about Django Unchained last night. Why on earth ask someone like Tarantino such ridiculous questions about the connection of movie violence to real life killing? He is the master of hyper cartoon violence. Violence so violent it becomes supra-violence. Like his characters and dialogue Tarantino operates in a fantasy world several removes from anything that could be called remotely real. So why ask him about real life? He hasn’t a clue what that is. Before he became a world famous director he was a video shop clerk who … CONTINUE READING

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Happy New Year to you all. This one kicked off with some good news in from the USA about reviews for Capital Punishment. Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review and called it ‘energetic and thoughtful’. PW have not always been fans of mine. They famously started their review of The Blind Man of Seville with the line: ‘This just goes to show that even a writer as talented as Robert Wilson can have an off day.’ (When my cardio surgeon opened me up for my bypass he said those words were engraved on my heart). What got to me … CONTINUE READING

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Went to see ‘Skyfall’ the other night just to ease myself back into the cinematic groove. It was a return to the more successful tempo of Casino Royale rather than the jittery madness of Quantum of Solace. They must have been living on smoothies for weeks after the opening car chase sequence upset so many applecarts but this set the Mendes tone. It was all about knowingness. I liked the apocalyptic island which looked preferable to Macau’s excesses. It was forgiveably irritating, because it was so absurd, what can be achieved with or without a computer these days. I wouldn’t … CONTINUE READING

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