Cuckold Point

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Recent Posts | 2 comments

Publication of Cuckold Point, the latest in the Tom Pascoe series, is on 2nd April 2015. Once again, I’ve drawn on actual events in history for the story which begins with rumours of the existence of a large quantity of silk on board a ship recently arrived in the Thames. Tom soon discovers that the planned theft is a great deal more serious than he’d thought. Unknown to the villains, there is a secret hidden within the cargo of silk that could alter the course of the war with France – and keep the United States neutral. When Tom’s young brother is abducted and his life threatened, the race to solve the case gets personal. Yet just when things couldn’t get any worse, Tom learns that there are others with a hidden agenda. Who they are and why they are interested, he doesn’t know. All he knows if that if he is to save his brother’s life and recover the secret vital to the interests of his country, he cannot afford to lose the race.


Book Event in the Sun

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Recent Posts | 0 comments

A couple of weeks ago, while sunning myself on a beach somewhere, I was asked if I’d like to talk on the subject of crime and punishment in 18th Century England. I said I’d be delighted and, when around fifty people turned up at the hotel – whether to hear me or to drink the Champagne on offer, I couldn’t possibly say – I told them about London’s low-life before the age of police when the penalty for simple theft (larceny) was a lingering death at the end of a rope outside the prison gates – known then as the Newgate Dance. It seems strange to think there were well over 200 statutary offennces in Britain for which the penalty was death, at the end of the 18th Century while in revolutionary France, there were only six. The French also beat us to the creation of a police force by nearly 100 years. When we finally got round to having one (in 1829), the great British public rioted.

Life at the bottom end of British society at that time was grim. For the 15,000 or so men working in the Port of London, pay was routinely withheld by the gangmasters who employed them and they were encouraged to steal from the ships they were loading and unloading in lieu of pay. So prevalent was the practice that most believed that what they were taking was their lawful perquisites (perks). The coming of the first body of (privately funded) police 31 years before the formation of the Met was therefore a huge shock for those at the receiving end. The story of the formation of this force – the Thame Marine Police Institution – was the subject of my first book, The Watermen which I hope many of you will have enjoyed.

My new book – more of which later – is due out on 3rd April and, as with all my books, can be purchased direct from me as a signed edition. Of course, if you prefer, they are also available through all the usual retail outlefts






Researching The Rising Tide

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Recent Posts | 0 comments

I have often been asked how I carry out the research for my books and where the ideas for the stories come from. The simple answer is that I managed to pick a very crowded period of British and European history which meant that there is a ready source of subjects to choose from. Not only that but much scholarly material and original documents of the period are readily available to those prepared to search for them. This applies as much to the story in The Watermen which had as its background, the Irish rebellion of 1798 and the consequences of that event for those living and working in London, as the second book – The River of Fire – which concentrated on the threat posed by the war with France.

The solid bulk of my research – covering the formation of the river police and the prevailing social  and economic conditions of the period – was completed before ever I set pen to paper. In those early days I knew only that I wanted my stories to be about the Thames police in the first years of their existence . But finding out about life at the bottom of the social ladder in the 18th Century was a little more tricky. It involved a vast amount of reading of original documents at the National Archives in Kew and the many and varied museums throughout London. The reading provided the basic body of information which, together with my own experience of the Thames and of policing, allowed me the confidence to begin writing.

Inevitably questions of detail, perhaps relating to procedure or construction, would arise for which I did not have the answer. The temptation is always to reach for the Internet. It is a valuable source of information and one I frequenty make use of. But there has always, for me, been another source of knowledge without which a great deal of the fine detail of an event would be missing. That source is the expert in his or her own field. Whether I’m writing about ordering a new suit, a medical procedure, the discharge of a firearm, or the use of French Revolutioary coinage, talking to an expert gives me the ability to sound as if I know what I’m talking about.  In The Rising Tide, for instance, I was fortunate to be able to visit the two museums on the island of Barbados and to speak to the curators about the problems of slavery. The visit also allowed me to see the island and describe it in a way that would not otherwise have been possible. And lengthy conversations with an expert on 18th Century English law permitted me talk about real court cases involving slaves in England in the detail that would have been very difficult if culled from a book.

What it boils down to is that research never actually stops. As the book takes shape and grows, lots of incidents crop up for which solutions are required. In many, many cases, that involves stopping, going back through research notes or searching through literature to find a way through the problem. It’s a huge part of the enjoyment of being a writer.

The Rising Tide – Paperback published 4th September 2014

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Recent Posts | 0 comments

The paperback edition of The Rising Tide – the third book in the Tom Pascoe series – is due out on 4th September 2014 and will be available through all the  usual outlets including, of course,  direct from me.

The story is set in September 1799. Tom is still grieving over the death of the woman he loved and looks for solace at the bottom of a bottle. His superiors begin to doubt his ability to do his job but after a body is found floating in the Thames, he is ordered to undertake a murder inquiry. It quickly transpires that the victim is no ordinary man but a close confidant of William Pitt, the King’s First Minister. Pitt, with his friend William Wilberforce, is facing fierce opposition to his attempts to force through anti-slavery legislation.  As the two men find themselves in increasing danger, Tom must pull himself together or be dragged under.

Bristol Crimefest

Posted by on Apr 5, 2014 in Recent Posts | 0 comments

I’ll be on two panels at the Bristol Crimefest on Thursday 15th at 2.40 pm, and Friday 16th May 2014 at 10.10 am. The first is entitled Down The Research Rabbit Hole: When Fact Meets Fiction.

The authors on the panel with me are

  • Hilary Bonner
  • Patrick Easter
  • Jørn Lier Horst
  • Maureen Jennings
  • Stanley Trollip (moderating)

The second panel – at 10.10 am on Friday is called Historical Crime Fiction: It’s Not All Downton Abbey – The British Perspective. I’m the moderator on this one and the authors with me are:

  • Dolores Gordon-Smith
  • Andrew Martin
  • Imogen Robertson
  • Linda Stratman

If you are in the mood for a lively discussion, then why not come along to the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on one (or both) these days.



Meet your favourite crime authors – June 12th 2014

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Recent Posts | 0 comments

Waterstone’s in Tunbridge Wells are hosting a Book Event on Thursday 12th June 2014 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. You’ll be able to meet some of your favourite authors including writers like Elly Griffiths, Frank Barnard, Elizabeth Haynes, Julia Crouch and, of course, me Patrick Easter, plus others. We’ll be talking about our books, what it’s like to be a writer, tips on getting yourself published and much more. Tickets cost £3 (which can be redeemed against the price of a book purchased on the night).

The Rising Tide is published

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Recent Posts | 0 comments

The 3rd book in the Tom Pascoe series – The Rising Tide – is now on the shelves of your favourite bookshop. If it isn’t, and you want a signed and dated copy, I’d be glad to send one onto you, post free.  Just send me an email ( and I’ll do the rest.

The book was launched at a party in my local library last Thursday. I spoke about the series so far and the historical context in which it is fixed. England was going through a rough time at the end of the 18th Century, including the wars against France, Spain and Holland, the armed rebellion in Ireland and the threat of revolution that was bubbling just below the surface in Scotland and in England. William Pitt, the King’s First Minister was also working with others, including Wilberforce, to abolish slavery – or, at the very least, the slave trade.

And it is slavery and the attempts by those who sought to continue its existence, that is the subject of the new book. I’ve drawn on historical detail to show the lengths to which the pro-slavery lobby went in order to protect their interests. Tom has his work cut out in dealing with the consequences.

A few days earlier I was with Danny Pike on BBC Radio Sussex talking about the book. It was good seeing him again. He last interviewed me when The Watermen was launched a while ago.

On Wednesday 13th November I’ll be at Goldsboro Books in Cecil Court, off the Charing Court Road, London, signing copies of the new book. Should be there around 11.30 if you want to drop in for a chat.

That’s it for now. I’m already well into the fourth book in the series – tentatively called Cuckold Point – but it won’t be ready until well into 2014.


Thames Police Museum

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Recent Posts | 0 comments

Went along to the Thames Police Museum in Wapping High Street on Saturday 21st September. It had thrown open its doors as part of the London-wide ‘Open Days’ – an annual event in the capital where buildings not normally open to the public welcome all comers. On show were exhibits going back to the formation of the marine police in the summer of 1798 – incuding models of old police patrol boats, cutlasses and pistols carried by officers, old documents and articles of uniform. Most of the people I spoke to during the course of the day had had no idea the museum existed, in spite of the fact that they passed its doors on a daily basis. It was at Wapping where I trained as a Thames Division officer and, later, when I began my research for my novels, it was here that I found the inspiration of many of my plots. Look out for its next open day in September next year.



Publication date almost here

Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in Recent Posts | 7 comments

My new book ‘The Rising Tide’ will be on the shelves on Thursday 7th November. The jacket has already been designed and printed and I’ve sent the proof copy of the book to my publishers for signing off. It’s an exciting moment for me and, I hope, for my readers many of whom have been in touch, wanting to know how things are progressing.

Without giving too much away, the story again melds fact and fiction, this time dealing with issues of slavery – particularly the plight of Africans brought to England as slaves – and the opposition to the work of the abolitionists.

Of course, publication simply means the end of one book and the beginning of another. Book 4 in the Tom Pascoe series is already underway although I’m currently struggling to find a title that works. The story is about an act of piracy on the River Thames at the end of the 18th Century, and the pursuit of those responsible. Anybody got any ideas?



The Rising Tide – manuscript delivered

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Recent Posts | 2 comments

I’ve just delivered the first draft of my new book in the Tom Pascoe series. The Rising Tide brings Tom face to face with the slave trade and its human cost at a time when Pitt, Wilberforce and others were pressing for its abolition. It will, I think, be interesting to see what readers make of a particularly unpleasant period of our island story, albeit that change was already in the air.

The book is not actually due for publication until September but I’ve just been sent the first rush of the jacket design, which is always quite exciting. Meanwhile I’ve begun to map out Book 4 – Cuckold Point – the main theme of which will be piracy on the River Thames, an offence that carried the death penalty and ‘hanging in chains’ as an example to others.

Happy reading,