Venice Writing

The Garden of Angels becomes Garten der Engel

My tale of a young Venetian discovering his grandfather’s role during the Nazi occupation is headed for the German language. Out on February 28, 2023 from Folio, Garten der Engel is now appearing in a special press and book industry edition ahead of publication, one that includes background to the story, the location and the history, photos, and an article by me about its writing. So if you’re in the German language book business please look out for it.

I’m immensely grateful for the lovely staff of Folio, who I was lucky enough to meet in Vienna earlier this year to talk about the book. And to my translator Birgit Salzmann who has been a champion for the story since it first appeared in English.

There are some publicity events on the horizon… and a German audio edition too, of which more news later. Do please subscribe to updates here or follow me on Twitter (if Twitter is still around come February). Here’s the cover and the back copy.

Audio Venice

Out now in audio, Richard Armitage narrates The Medici Murders

Delighted to tell you that the audiobook of The Medici Murders went live around the world today, narrated by the ever-amazing Richard Armitage. You’ll find it in all the usual audio outlets including Audible, Amazon, Kobo and Google Play. Many thanks to the team at WF Howes who’ve been supporting my work in audio for more than twenty years.

The library audiobook version is due to go into online library apps on November 1.

Venice Writing

Ytali magazine… the big interview

It was fascinating to ‘sit down’ (a few thousand miles apart) with JoAnn Locktov to talk writing and Venice at length. You can read the result now in Ytali, an essential source of news and opinion for anyone interested in Italy and Venice in particular. The English version is here, and the Italian, kindly translated by Ytali’s founder, Guido Moltedo, here.

I first talked to JoAnn a decade ago when she wanted to run an extract from one of my tales in the beautiful photography and writing book she was producing, Dream of Venice. Since then, she’s produced two more stunning books on the city, Dream of Venice Architecture and Dream of Venice in Black and White, and curated surely the most comprehensive list of current fiction and non-fiction Venetian titles on her Dream of Venice site.

It was flattering to discover she’d been following my work in the city for so many years, going back to Lucifer’s Shadow/The Cemetery of Secrets which I wrote more than a quarter of a century ago.

A delight to chat at greater length than one normally finds in these interviews. And remember… if you have questions yourself and are in Venice on October 13 you can come and ask them when I’m at the Studium bookstore with Philip Gwynne Jones and Gregory Dowling, starting at 6 pm, all free, no need to book.


The Medici Murders begins…

For me, three key elements support a conventional narrative, each critical to the recounting of a good tale.

  1. The characters. Love them or hate them, they must be interesting enough for the reader to want to know how their story pans out.
  2. The world in which they live. Location isn’t enough — that’s a two-dimensional thing. A world is about more than looks. It has atmosphere, aromas, weather, temperature, a feel for the way locals respond to the changing seasons. It’s important to me that this is unique to the story. Or to put it another way, if you could pick up the narrative and shift it from Venice to London or even Rome then I’d feel I hadn’t quite got this bit right.
  3. Events. The challenges our characters must face along the way in pursuit of the resolution. Events, again, that should often be unique to the world in which they take place.

Every conventional story, be it crime, thriller, horror, sci-fi or mainstream novel, sits on that structural tripod. What makes each different may be the balance between the three. In one of those breakneck, read-in-a-flash thrillers which The Medici Murders isn’t, events are often uppermost, a series of non-stop shocks and twists designed to get you to rip through the book at top speed.

But here I’m focusing more on characters and the unique world that is Venice. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way. But I also want to transport the reader to those dark and cobbled alleys during Carnival, to let them smell the salty winter air, relish the cicchetti and the bitter-sweet taste of spritz, to become absorbed in one of the most extraordinary cities on earth as a very Venetian mystery unwinds around them.