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    Let’s face it, Neville Chamberlain gets something of a bad press, all that hopeful waving of a slice of paper in the wind at Heston Aerodrome, and an appeasing speech was never going to look good, and maybe one of his colleagues should have realised that and warned him about it.

    Fact is, that if we had gone to war at that time, a year earlier in 1938 than when it actually broke out in the autumn of 1939, we’d probably have been trounced five nil, what with one serviceable squadron of modern planes, complete with trained pilots and spares. That vital year gave us enough time to get (almost) up to speed, and in the end that made the difference. Just!

    This book, Robert Harris’s latest novel “Munich”, centres on the hastily arranged conference in 1938 featuring our Nev of course, plus a bad-tempered Adolf, (was he ever anything else?) in need of a good wash by all accounts, if the story is to be believed - is that fact or fiction? Plus Musso and Deladier in supporting roles. That all happened sure enough, there is no denying that.

    The poor Czechs were invited too but the Gestapo made sure they never left their hotel rooms. How could they possibly be included in the actual talks when it was their country that was being carved up?

    One always has to be very careful when reading fiction/faction books for after a while it’s all too easy to pick up facts that are nothing more than the writer’s imagination.

    Robert Harris crosses over into pure fiction by creating two twenty-somethings from pre-war Oxford Uni, Hugh Legat and Paul Hartmann, bosom pals, lover of the same girl, aren’t they always, brilliant language students the both of them, who, hey ho, turn up at the conference as civil servants/translator bods. Paul has info he desperately wants Hugh to have, though the papers and info he possesses never really comes across here as that important or earth shattering.

    Robert Harris is rightly famous for his painstaking research, but there were a couple of things here that didn’t quite ring true to me. Firstly, was that really a mention of British Airways I read? Didn’t BA start in 1974, that one puzzled me, and secondly, did Neville Chamberlain really receive more raucous applause from the German public in Munich in 1938 than our (c)old mate Adolf? Really? I somehow doubt that too. Pardon me if I am being picky here.

    Robert Harris is a fantastic writer, and as someone else commented, even when he is only 60% of his best he is still way better than so many of his contemporaries.

    Someone else mentioned too that this is or was a sequel or prequel to “Fatherland” – it is nothing of the kind, but if you like, or are fascinated by this period of history, as so many people are, you will get something out of this book.

    It’s well-written, as you would expect, has sold the customary shed loads, but there are no great surprises, and in the end it left the reader feeling kind of flat, as if there was so much more to come, but I guess you can only fiddle with history so much or you risk losing the history buffs altogether.

    The writer clearly harbours some sympathy for Mr Chamberlain, and maybe he does deserve better than he gets, and as time passes by people’s perception changes. Coincidentally, this afternoon I saw a photo of Mr Chamberlain walking seemingly carefree in a London park with his wife Anne, two days before the actual outbreak of war. If only one could go up to him and say: Penny for your thoughts, Neville, penny for your thoughts?

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book, read it quickly too, and as ever, I am now eagerly looking forward to the next one. Bonaparte maybe, Churchill even, or something more radical, like Mosley? There must be plenty of black stories still to come out of that rich seam, which reminds me, my dad was at the Cable Street riots in 1936, and most definitely he was not wearing black, though hopefully he didn’t have his RN uniform on at the time. 


    EXTRA – And A Correction:

    Well, I should have known better than to doubt Mr Robert Harris’s research and accuracy. So let me put that straight right now. The prime minister did indeed travel by “British Airways” to and from Munich in 1938. I didn’t know it was a resurrected name when it was reintroduced so much later. Happy to set things right.  



    Whobeda's Guide to Basic Astrology by Marcha Fox - Book Review



    I have always had a slightly weird interest in astrology, or maybe it’s the characters I write about who really have that interest, and I am always needing and looking for additional expertise, but whichever it is, when the opportunity arose to buy Marcha Fox’s Ebook “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology” for just 99 pence I was never going to miss out on that.


    This book is well written, packed with interesting content, and is an easy read too. I loved the quotes about young children giving their take on what love is.


    Here’s Karl’s thoughts, (aged 5)


    “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Could be!


    And for the doubters out there about the whole idea, here is another quote from the book - “The reason that astrology has endured for literally thousands of years is because it works.”


    If you have any interest at all in Astrology this would be a useful addition to your library. You don’t have to read it all at once; you can dip in and out whenever you want, use it a textbook if you prefer. I enjoyed the book, there is so much in it, and I am sure to refer to it again many times in the future.


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  3. TwentySquid


    How to Publish Your Book For Less Than Twenty Squids!

    In the first of a short series of articles I will show you how you really can publish your book for less than twenty notes.

    You can read the first article by clicking here.

    The second article will be published on this site in February 2018, but you can see it earlier than that by susbcribing to my occasional booksy newsletter.

    You can do that by going here


    Thanks for reading, and the best of luck with your book,



  4. The Charming Story of The Bunny and the Bear is OUT TODAY and at only 99p (As an ebook) it’s a real bargain.

    Here’s what one beta reader said about it:


    This book is charming, easy to read, light of tone, and funny.

    I feel you have a winner here!


    Well, let’s hope so!

    Here’s the link to The Bunny and the Bear page where you will find much more about the book and all the various buying links (It’s available on Kindle, iTunes/iBooks, Nook, Kobo and most other well known ebook platforms.)  Click here to see that

    Hope you’ll check it out, and I’d love to hear what you think of it.

    Have a great day,

    David Carter. 



  5. Prescription For Murder - The True Story of Mass Murderer Doctor Harold Frederick Shipman - Book Review - by Brian Whittle and Jean Ritchie


    What an unbelievable case this was!

    Here's a link to my book review and also on the page you will find a 45 minute video on the horrific events that happened in a small Cheshire town.

    Click here to view 


  6. The Snowman - The Movie - By Jo Nesbo


    If you like scary movies and whodunnits you will surely enjoy The Snowman by Jo Nesbo.

    You might already have read the book, but the English language movie is out this month.

    Here's the extended movie trailer to whet your appetite, which is pretty scary by itself.

    See what you think!




  7. Jack the Ripper - and My Weird and (Very) Tenuous Link to the Case!


    There's a game that people sometimes play about how many people you are removed from famous people. I forget what it is called, but some say that you can be linked to anyone within say seven others, even people like Charles Dickens, Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill - now there's a weird trio!

    Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that I could be linked to Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer, in just one!!

    How could that possibly be?

    Check out my book review on The Diary of Jack the Ripper and all will be revealed - you can see that by clicking here

    Have fun!






    Death Squad London by Jack Gerson


    If you are into thrillers and murder and suspense type books you will not regret taking a look at this one.

    The story is set in London in 1936 and follows the hero, a German refugee by the name of Ernst Lohmann. Ernst was formerly a top detective in Berlin but was forced to leave the country because of his opposition to the Nazi regime.

    In London he lives one step above the poverty line, but when an old Jew's daughter supposedly commits suicide, and the courts confirm that verdict, the father asks Lohmann to investigate.

    And investigate he does, and along the way he meets and falls in love with the late girl's best friend. She is a wealthy heiress with connections to the government, and it is not long before Ernst is meeting and questioning the out-of-office Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister himself, Stanley Baldwin, and even the uncrowned King Edward VIII, he of Mrs Simpson and abdication fame and all that.

    In the course of his enquiries he discovers a gigantic conspiracy that I am not going to elaborate further about here. Suffice to say, the story rattles along at a cracking pace and accurately portrays the spirit of the times, from the Cable Street riots against Oswald Mosley's blackshirts, to pre-war German spies on hiking holidays throughout England, checking out airfields and the like.

    There are a couple of minor errors within. The author repeatedly talks of "New Scotland Yard", when surely it was just Scotland Yard back then, and the wail of sirens from the police cars. Even I can remember the rather genteel continuous bell that English police cars rather reluctantly exuded. Sirens there were not!

    But we can forgive these minor faults because theis book is a cracking good read and most enjoyable too. If you enjoy it as I did, you could maybe seek out the sister book too, Death's Head Berlin.




    If you would like a free mystery ebook you can have one right now when you sign up for my occasional booksy newsletter. Click here to sign up and get your free book today!