Newsletter March 2005

Greg Dyke, Michael Jecks and Mark Lawson at the 2004 Dagger awards

At the 2004 Dagger Awards: Greg Dyke, Michael Jecks and Mark Lawson
Photo © Shots Ezine

It has felt as though the work has just piled up and up for the last few months. Just as everything seemed to be settled at the CWA, ready to be handed over to my successor as Chair, Danuta Reah, something went horribly wrong and we lost our sponsors for the Daggers, so I found myself having to work doubly hard.

Still, that's almost done now, and life's starting to return to normal.

I'm really pleased that I've been involved in the CWA so directly, but suddenly finding that there's so much time that - well, just hasn't been taken up with CWA business - is a little daunting. I know it'll lead to suggestions that I should be doing some painting and decorating, or that the tangled jungles outside - that could once have been called a garden - could do with some attention, and a number of other little things that need to be done.

For me, though, there are some basics. First I have to clean out my workshop and brewery, so that I can start brewing ale again. That's essential. And once it's done, then I can start planning out new stories.


I'm in the process of finishing off book 20 just now, which will be called The Friar's Bloodfeud, and which has been great fun. It's all set around Iddesleigh, up north of Hatherleigh, and I'm using some real cases again.

Most of you know that I tend to base my books on real events. It's better, I think, to take real criminal cases from the fourteenth century and look at what really happened. So I've taken as my starting point a rather hideous murder in a man's home, as well as the shocking story of Lady Baret, who was captured by the Despensers after her husband's death, and tortured to death just so that they could steal the widow's property.

Last year I also collaborated on a book with my friends in Medieval Murderers. We had an idea for a set of stories that were firmly linked over time, so that we could use our main characters to investigate a series of murders.

I'm glad to say that the project went really well, and on 3rd May this year it's going to be launched by Simon & Schuster in the UK as The Tainted Relic, and hopefully in the US as well a little later.


Michael Jecks chairs a panel of historical crime writers at the 2004 Harrogate Festival

The 2004 Harrogate Festival: Michael Jecks chairs a star-studded panel of historical crime writers

What with that and the publication of The Butcher of St Peter's in May as well, it's already looking like a busy summer. Especially since I've just been nominated for the Harrogate Festival Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for The Outlaws of Ennor. If you have time, please go to the festival website and vote for the book. I've a feeling I'll need all the help I can get, with the competition this year!

Anyway, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish you a very happy Easter break, and I hope you don't suffer from chocolate poisoning!

Best wishes
Mike Jecks
North Dartmoor

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