Don’t be fooled by the title…

… of my latest novel, The Man Who Played Trains

A murder in a remote village in Scotland, the victim brutally beaten
Nobody knows why, not you, not the police
A damaged boat in harbour, a strange crewman
A derelict house, an abandoned mine
Then more, seemingly unrelated deaths

So why that title? Why The Man Who Played Trains?

Buy: Amazon

Buy: Waterstones

Buy: Browns

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Interview with Richard Whittle

The Man Who Played Trains is due to be published by Urbane Publications in April. I was recently interviewed by A Lover of Books about my novel. Click on the blue link…

Interview with Richard Whittle


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Waterstones: The Man Who Played Trains


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December 22, 2016 · 5:10 pm

The Man Who Played Trains

Excellent news for me today! My latest novel, The Man Who Played Trains, is up on Amazon

It will be published next April (2017) by Urbane Publishing


Check it out here:

Mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. Her home has been ransacked. Determined to track down her killer and discover the truth behind her death, John finds a connection between his late father’s wartime mine and the wreck of a U-Boat. The connection deepens when he discovers the diaries of the U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Göring to safety along with a fortune in stolen art. When John’s daughter Jez is kidnapped, he is contacted by a mysterious consortium her life hangs in the balance unless he can find the stolen art. What is the link with his father’s abandoned mine? Who was the U-Boat captain? Did he survive and hide Göring’s treasures? John races against time to discover the truth…and in doing so may unearth secrets that were better left buried…

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Japan is the place to be…

Well, maybe not for everything, but for a 10 day holiday I can’t think of anywhere better at the moment, I would go back there tomorrow if it wasn’t so far (and if I could afford the flight!).

I worked in around 20 countries and I can truthfully say that I have never met such polite, helpful people nor been in cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima) without litter or graffiti – and we didn’t just visit tourist spots, we went well off the beaten track.

Oh – another thing – there seem to be no cars parked in Kyoto streets. If you own a car you have to prove to the police that you have off-street parking at home. They measure your car and your parking space…

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Scottish Parliament – a STUNNING design!

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Forgive the “STUNNING” shout, it was simply to get your attention (it was either that or a hateful string of multiple exclamation marks!!!)

l haven’t yet got over the visit I made to the Scottish Parliament building last week. I mean the inside, not the outside (we have all seen the outside, if only in photos). The outside is amazing enough, especially when viewed from on high, from the nearby Salisbury Crags. But the inside! The debating chamber! Words (almost) fail me!

By Debating Chamber I don’t mean the bums-on-seats bit in the photo above, the place where all the arguing is done (though that bit is impressive enough with its modern electronics), I mean the roof. Because when I went into the chamber I was looking up, not down.

Perhaps I should explain. I am a writer. I am a geologist. I am also a Chartered Engineer (not a structural engineer, my maths was never good enough for me to be one of those). So perhaps, because I would not know where to begin to design and construct some of the amazing things such as the new Queensferry Crossing, the London Wheel or The Eden Project’s glasshouses  (though I could do their foundations), I marvel at the abilities of those that can.

So… look up, not down! (Something we should all do? Look at the sky, not down at our feet?)

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Click on the pictures to get bigger versions – but they still won’t give you the impressions I had from seeing the real thing. Someone (Enric Miralles? And of course his architect wife Bernadetta) designed these impressive structures. If you have any real knowledge of maths and physics then you will understand how awesome the calcs must be for a roof design such as this.

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I am embarrassed to admit that despite living 20 miles away from the building (and having lived in Edinburgh for four years before that), I have never been inside the parliament. During its construction the Scottish Government (Labour at the time) got a lot of stick for cost overruns, they were awesome (not the government, the overruns). I know that the cost overrun would not have surprised those involved in construction. The MD of a large national construction company once said to me “None of us can bid realistic prices. If we did, it would scare people so much that nothing would ever be built”. Is that interesting, or what?

If I have held your attention so far then you might be interested to know that the Scottish Parliament building cost £0.4 billion (£414,000,000). To put that in perspective, the Edinburgh trams cost over twice as much, almost £1 billion (£976,000,000).

Ho hum, said Pooh…


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Bestseller? Downloaded a few thousand times!


I have copied another Twitter post. I’ve been told I’m far too modest and should be promoting myself as a writer. People like my work (see the Amazon 5-star reviews). I have another novel out soon: ‘The Man who Played Trains. I’m about to finish its third (or fourth or fifth?) edit – and that’s after three rewrites.

Practice makes perfect? Hung on the wall of the maths master’s room in one of my old schools (state secondaries, nothing posh) was a full length banner that said ‘A THING WORTH DOING IS WORTH DOING WELL’. That I remember it so clearly must mean something. I was only at that school for a year but, rather bizarrly, I remember the master’s name. It was Pemberton.

Playpits Park is NOT a spy story. It is an unusual (and I’m told gripping and haunting) coming of age novel.

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Richard Whittle – talented writer to watch…


Wasn’t me that said it Guv, honest!



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Independent Publishers are the Future


Many new – and very good – writers (and I mean good – there are so many mediocre ones around) are tiring of established agents and publishers. The world is changing. How many new writers have had a recommendation like this from one of the few remaining big boys? (more often than not they can’t even be bothered to reply). So, thank you for the publicity, independent publisher URBANE! Even though Playpits Park is already available on Amazon (with around 2000 downloads and 5-star reviews), you took the trouble to promote me on Twitter!

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Haynes model engine

Haynes 4cyl

Santa bought one of these from Halfords for the 9-year old (6 years after I first mentioned him, see here). Construction took days, with him working on the first bits. Things got hard – expected – and I took over. Two days later I wished I had been building a real engine, not a plastic one (I have built real ones without instruction books, honest!) First there was a part missing. I thought I must have dropped it. After four of us searching the room for it (it was a tiny spring), I discovered on Google that the part was also missing from other people’s kits. The instruction book had mistakes and ambiguous drawings, resulting in me dismantling and reassembling chunks of engine in a trial-and-error rebuild to make the thing work. Finally I got it going. 9-year old VERY pleased…


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