Tag Archives: edinburgh

Fantastic review for The Man Who Played Trains!

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I am one of those writers who doesn’t particularly want to be famous (fat chance of that anyway). What I want is to write novels that people enjoy reading – and, I suppose, sell enough of them to keep my publisher, Urbane, happy.

My reviews on Amazon are mainly 5-stars. Check out  The Man Who Played Trains

What I did not expect (never in my wildest dreams, as they say…) was a review as stunning as this one

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PRESS RELEASE – The Man Who Played Trains

THE MAN WHO PLAYED TRAINS

The gripping new thriller from the author of ‘Playpits Park’

Press information for immediate release: 10/05/2017

The Man Who Played Trains is Richard Whittle’s compelling second novel, following the acclaimed debut Playpits Park. A gripping thriller that will appeal to fans of Martin Cruz Smith, Jack Higgins and Robert Harris, The Man Who Played Trains is an addictive and complex story of conspiracy, murder, secrets and a race against time to discover the truth. It publishes 25th May 2017.

Mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. He also discovers her home has been thoroughly searched. 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…

 Richard Whittle says: ‘I’m definitely a fan of the secrets people keep, and like to explore the dynamics of those who keep them – and those who want to reveal them! The second world war in particular provides a wealth of ‘conspiracies’ and outlandish plots for a writer to sink their teeth into, and there’s something compelling about exploring the impact of history on the lives, ambitions and emotions of contemporary people. My central characters, people like you and me, find that they have been dragged into situations beyond their control and from which there seems little chance of escape. For them, crimes are most definitely involved.’

Richard has been a policeman, a police marksman and police motorcyclist, a diesel engine tester, professional engineering geologist and Chartered Engineer. He has worked in civil engineering, geothermal energy, nuclear and mining industries in seventeen countries in Europe, Africa and the Americas and is able to draw on a wealth of personal experiences. Well known in his field as a technical writer, he spent time as a book reviewer for technical journals and regularly contributed to professional publications. As a spare-time novelist he had several short stories published. In 2002, writing as Alan Frost, he was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award. More recently, his self-published novel, Playpits Park, has been downloaded as an eBook more than 4000 times. Richard has been a trustee of a Scottish Charitable Organisation, acting first as its project manager and then its technical advisor. He now writes full time. He currently lives in the Scottish Borders, not too far away from Edinburgh.

THE MAN WHO PLAYED TRAINS by RICHARD WHITTLE:

PUBLISHING DATE: 25th May 2017 by Urbane Publications

ISBN: 978-1911331032

PRICE: £8.99

DIMENSIONS: B format paperback. 520 pages

CATEGORY: Thriller, war thriller, conspiracy thriller, action and adventure

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For further information, review copies and interviews please contact Matthew Smith matthew@urbanepublications.com / +44 (0)7578890446

 

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Welsh Thunderstorms

19.05.14

Today I heard a single clap of thunder. I wondered if we were due for more so I checked Netweather’s lightning strikes map. The strike I heard was the one shown in orange, just to the south of Edinburgh. We seem to have got off lightly – look at the thunderstorm over Wales!

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Lunacy

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My posts haven’t flowed as freely as I would have liked, partly due to other commitments and partly to the fact that my pocket sized ever-present camera remained in my trouser pocket throughout a 3 1/2 hour wash cycle at 40degC. All credit to Canon, after drying and replacing the camera’s battery, the camera still worked – though the pictures have been ever so slightly hazy, as if looking through a lightly steamed window. No surprise there. Maybe I should have added one of those glass cleaning tablets to the washing machine.

Lunacy? Well, perhaps leaving the camera in my pocket was lunacy. But that’s not what I meant. My ever trusty (new) camera was put to use at the Straiton shopping centre yesterday. When I drove in, all spaces were full… except one. So I swung into it.

Stopped just in time, luckily.

Driving in Straiton’s car park is a nightmare. It must surely be one of Britain’s most badly planned, tight cornered, maze-like one way systems ever.

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No blue flashing lights

Spotted at Scotland’s Royal Highland Show.

I did wonder where they would put the stretcher. Perhaps, if they cycled in a synchronised way, they could balance it on the back, over those bags of defibrillators and other life-saving electronic gubbins (when I passed my first aid tests – rather a long time ago – we would have had bags of leeches).

Seriously – this is a fantastic idea! A great bit of lateral thinking by somebody in the NHS. Perhaps NHS could be spelled out in bigger letters? Don’t be shy, this is great stuff.

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Dr Who fans beware!

Beware – because the police boxes on sale in Edinburgh are not the same pattern as those in London.

Beware also – that these are smaller on the inside than the outside.

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Mozart by electric candles

The Mozart concert at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall last Saturday was advertised as Mozart by Candlelight. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected the candelabras to have real candles, not these days, not on stage in a crowded concert hall. The Mozart Festival Orchestra performed in Regency costume, an excellent bit of theatre that for me made up for the disappointment of the electric bulbs. I suppose I should have looked at the small print (A sublime evening of Mozart masterpieces performed in an evocative candle-lit style setting). At least I now know what ‘candle-lit style’ means, i.e., not real.
One member of the orchestra appeared to have injured his leg and came in supported by an NHS crutch. I suppose it would have been asking too much of the management to provide him with a crutch more in keeping with the Regency style.

Oh – the performance? Faultless, I would say. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge Mozart fan and that we took our Granddaughter more for the atmosphere than the music – hence my slight annoyance with the ‘candle-lit style’. The NHS crutch was less of a problem. It seems nobody else noticed.

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Animals at Edinburgh’s Botanics


It is now two weeks since I went to Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens. Argueably August isn’t the most obvious time to visit because it is an in-between time, when the best of the flowers are fading and the colours of Autumn aren’t yet with us (though judging by our recent Autumnal mornings and evenings they will be with us soon). The reason I went to the Botanics was to look at the animals. No, not the zoo, the Botanic Gardens…, and to prove it I have attached a few examples. Unfortunately the menagerie closed on Sunday, but here is the Jungle City website (I don’t know how long that will be up either, but judging by some of the pages on the web it could be around for years).
Yes, these are steel washers (stainless, I hope), each one welded to the next. Labour of love, or what?

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Whitmuir’s Wildlife Garden – the new pond


The new pond at Whitmuir The Organic Place is beginning to look less like a reservoir on a construction site and more like a place to find wildlife. Today, in rare gaps between cloudbursts, we transplanted around seventy clumps of native Scottish wildflowers (Scotia Seeds Pond Edge Mixture, raised from seed). If the young plants manage to survive being planted into what looked to me rather like potters’ clay, they will eventually flower, self-seed and spread. Watch this space. Even better, if you are lucky enough to be anywhere near Edinburgh, Peebles, West Linton or Lamancha, go and see the new pond.


As you can see, our work was closely supervised by The Management: ‘Just what, exactly, are you doing at my pond, young lady? And what have you done with my ducks?

More about Whitmuir Wildlife here

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Edinburgh’s traffic

I have heard recently that Edinburgh is the seventh most congested city in Europe. This, as anyone who has attempted to drive through Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol (none of which are in the top six) and several other UK cities will testify, this is complete, unadulterated, arrant nonsense. And what about Madrid? Rome? Paris? They don’t even figure in the top six. If you want traffic jams, try these cities, don’t pick on Edinburgh. Is it possible that these statistics were compiled at some time in the last two years, when Edinburgh’s centre was jammed solid with cars as a result of snarl-ups caused by the tram works?

Ah…! So let’s get it right. Edinburgh is NOT the seventh worst city in Europe for traffic jams. It was for a while, and there was a reason. It is not now. At a guess, it is way down the league table, I’m guessing around number twenty (on a par with Aberdeen and Amsterdam).

Believe me, after having lived in Reading (20 years ago) and having had to commute into London twice a week, Edinburgh is a mere pussy-cat in the cat-house of traffic jams.

A SatNav firm provided these statistics. SatNavs are the things that do this.

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