Yes – it’s true!

Those Four Blokes are still searching for that plot and the trail is taking them back to Dumfries’ fabulous Theatre Royal.

Once again, they will be joined the Carry on Sleuthing team in a double bill of mirther (that’s a mixture of mirth and murder, in case you hadn’t spotted it).

 

The crime writers on offer in the show are Caro Ramsay, Lucy Cameron, Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Mark Leggatt, Michael J. Malone and Douglas Skelton.

The blokes will, as usual, create a crime story before the audience’s very eyes – and given it’s taking place on Burns Night, there may well be a Bardic flavour. Be prepared for exploding haggi, Slashy Sarks and a man’s a corpse for a’ that.

The Carry on Sleuthing epic this year will be ‘A Death on the Ocean Wave’, a cunning tale of murder and skulduggery aboard an ocean liner. Once again ace sleuth Letitia Luvibod will look up from her knitting to fathom the mystery and bring the identity of the dastardly murderer to the surface – but the audience have to spot the clues and put forward their own theories. To do so they have to wade through a sea of bad jokes and red herrings. Perhaps even a couple of turbot.

You’ll find details here. You can buy tickets singly at £8 or £12 for both shows:

https://www.evensi.uk/carry-sleuthing-66-68-shakespeare-street-dg1-2jh-dumfries/279949477

The Four Blokes boy band (????) heads for the exotic island of Bute on Friday to bring their own brand of lunacy to the islanders.

Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Mark Leggatt and Douglas Skelton be in the Museum – fitting, considering their age – from 7pm.

As usual, it promises to be a fun-filled night, with the guys attempting to create a story from scratch, while wearing the sacred Tea Cosy of Inspiration.

 

For tickets – call Print Point, the island’s fabulous book store, on 01700 503389

The guys appear thanks to Bute Noir.

 

The second date on the Four Blokes in Search of a Plot whistlestop tour sees us in Edinburgh.

We’re back in Blackwells bookstore, where we first appeared a couple of years ago under the old Crime Factor format.

This time, though, we’re presenting the new, let’s put the show on right here format where we get the audience to give us a main character and a murder weapon and then proceed to create a crime story between us.

Further details on the show and how to book tickets here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/four-blokes-in-search-of-a-plot-tickets-47473837526

I’ve got a busy few months ahead of me, which is never something to complain about. It keeps me on the streets, as it were.

The Four Blokes in search of a Plot tour is already underway with a session in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street Waterstones that really rocked. I even sang. After a fashion.

Picture by Ellie Petrie

 

The tour, with Gordon Brown, Neil Broadfoot and Mark Leggatt, continues as follows:

Thursday August 30 – Blackwells, Edinburgh

Thursday September 13 – Waterstones Stirling

Friday October 19 – Bute Museum, Isle of Bute (as part of Bute Noir’s ongoing calendar of events)

The Tour coincides with all four of us having new books hitting the shelves. Funny how things work out.

Neil Broadfoot’s newie is NO MAN’S LAND, the start of a thrilling new series featuring two-fisted Connor Fraser centred in Stirling.

Gordon Brown’s is DEEPEST WOUNDS, the latest in his Exciting Craig McIntyre series.

Mark Leggatt’s latest is THE SILK ROAD, another suspenseful tale featuring Connor Montrose.

Mine, as you all know, is THE JANUS RUN, which I describe as Jason Bourne meets the Sopranos.

From September 21 to September 23, I’ll be attending Bloody Scotland in Stirling, one of the premier crime fiction festivals in the world!

I’m chairing a couple of panels during the festival – one with Quintin Jardine and Denzil Meyrick, the other with Nick Triplow, Cathi Unsworth and Harry Brett – but I’ll also be joining the Carry on Sleuthing crowd to present Murder at the Knickerage.

Speaking of The Janus Run and Carry on Sleuthing, I’ll be launching the book officially at the Tidelines Festival in Irvine’s Harbour Arts Centre on Sunday September 30 – and later that day we’ll be back with Knickerage.

 

They seem to have been searching for that elusive plot for a long time – will they find it in Glasgow?

Why not come along and find out!

Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Mark Leggatt and Douglas Skelton return to Waterstones in Sauchiehall Street with the brand new, all fun format of their unique panel game.

Four crime writers are given a protagonist and a murder weapon by the audience and have to create a new crime story within the hour.

The audience select which writer will batter out the next 100 words and while that author dons the sacred Tea Cosy of Inspiration, the other three answer questions about the genre.

Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity see them.

Okay, there’ll be other opportunities, but it sounded good.

You can book your place here:

https://www.waterstones.com/events/four-men-in-search-of-a-plot/glasgow-sauchiehall-street-53940

Sleuthing poster

They called it a triumph in Grantown-on-Spey (or some kind of clapped out old banger, anyway).

And in January, Carry on Sleuthing 2: Murder at the Knickerage is heading for Dumfries – and the oldest working theatre in Scotland.

And if that wasn’t enough to get the funny bone tingling, the Theatre Royal will also host Four Crime Writers in Search of a Plot.

ALL IN THE SAME NIGHT!

Let Joy be unbound (she’s a lovely girl)!

Carry on sleuthing composote (2017_11_10 11_48_18 UTC)

Yes, indeedy – Gordon ‘GJ’ Brown, Mark Leggatt, Neil Broadfoot and Douglas Skelton will be dusting off the old Tea Cosy of Inspiration (TCOI) and getting their little grey cells in gear to create a crime story before the audience’s very eyes live on stage (well, almost live. A couple of them don’t look too healthy).

Here’s the drill – the audience is invited to suggest a protagonist and a murder weapon and then choose which author will write the next section of the story. While the chosen one is sporting the TCOI and churning out some fantastic prose (it could happen), the others will field question about crime writing from the audience.

It’s fast, it’s fun and it could well be folly.

four blokes byres road 2 (2017_10_12 09_40_46 UTC)

Then the Carry on Sleuthing team – Caro Ramsay, Lucy Cameron, Michael J. Malone and Douglas Skelton – will take over the stage to present a mystifying mystery filled with suspense, danger and, well, mystifying mystery.

Either that or they’ll just do Murder at the Knickerage.

With script in hand, because they’re incapable of remembering lines and you wouldn’t want some of these stuck in your head anyway, they will invite you to listen to the witnesses, find the clues and decide who the murderer was.

However, budding sleuths have to wade their way through a barrage of jokes and sight gags to find the clues!

Don’t miss this tittersome evening of murder, mystery and mirth.

Tickets can be booked now, priced £8 for an individual show, or £12 for the two.

 

Find out how to book here:

https://www.ents24.com/dumfries-events/theatre-royal

 

Well.

That’s Bloody Scotland 2017 over, never to be seen again.

Except in photographs.

It was another record-breaker, with ticket sales 30% up on last year. The Festival just grows and grows!

I was busy this year.

A slew (a slewth?) of crime writers and guests at the grand reception. See if you can spot me- or, in other words, Where the Wally? Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

A slew (a slewth?) of crime writers and guests at the grand reception. See if you can spot me – or, in other words, Where’s the Wally? Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

I attended the reception in Stirling Castle (in the Royal Apartments, don’t you know?) before heading into the Great Hall to watch Denise Mina pick up her McIlvanney Award for ‘The Long Drop’ and then tried not to set anyone ablaze during the torchlight parade.

Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Denise Mina set out to find Boris Karloff. Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Denise Mina set out to find Boris Karloff. Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

I chaired one panel – From Cops to Robbers – and formed one quarter of the Four Blokes in Search of a Plot.

Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown and Mark Leggatt handle the chat while I don the Tea Cosy of Inspiration to kick off the story. Picture courtesy of Lucy Cameron

Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown and Mark Leggatt handle the chat while I don the Tea Cosy of Inspiration to kick off the story. Picture courtesy of Lucy Cameron

Neil Broadfoot sports the Tea Cosy of Inspiration, Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

Neil Broadfoot sports the Tea Cosy of Inspiration, Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

I dread to think what MarK Leggatt was claiming was this big. Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

I dread to think what MarK Leggatt was claiming was this big. Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

We were a bit worried about this one because we didn’t know it would work. Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Mark Leggatt and myself, with initial prompts from the audience, taking turns to write a crime story live – well, almost live. It was the Sunday after a Bloody Scotland Saturday night, after all.

In the end it worked. The audience seemed to enjoy it and its success was put down to the influence of the Tea Cosy of Inspiration that we wore when writing our 50–70 words.

I also took part in Alanna Knight’s play ‘The Case of the Vanishing Vagrant’. I played Inspector Faro, with a top–notch cast comprised of Hollywood star Harley Jane Kozak (who really showed us how it was done), Marsali Taylor, Gordon Brown and Abir Mukherjee. Every single one of them sparkled. I kind of flickered.

Taking a bow: from left, some eejit, Abir Mukherjee, Marsali Taylor, Harley Jane Kozak and Gordon Brown. Alanna Knight is far left, wondering how she gets herself involved in this. Picture courtesy of Laura Jones

Taking a bow: from left, some eejit, Abir Mukherjee, Marsali Taylor, Harley Jane Kozak and Gordon Brown. Alanna Knight is far left, wondering how she gets herself involved in this. Picture courtesy of Laura Jones

Gordon Brown and I in (almost) full swing. Picture courtesy of Debbie Pitt.

Gordon Brown and I in (almost) full swing. Picture courtesy of Debbie Pitt.

Abir, Marslay and Harley on stage, while Gordon and I try to keep out of their way. Picture courtesy of Linda Wright

Abir, Marsali and Harley on stage, while Gordon and I try to keep out of their way. Picture courtesy of Linda Wright

I was also volunteered at the last minute to MC the football match between Scotland and England. Ironic, given I know nothing about football. Thankfully, I wasn’t expected to do a running commentary, merely read out the team lines prepared by Craig Robertson then deal with the raffle at the end and the trophy presentation. Scotland won 6–3! Captain Ian Rankin was suitably delighted, as was the 150-strong crowd. Well, the Scots among them anyway.

I was completely impartial as it was immaterial to me who won. As long as it was Scotland.

The two teams were the best of friends even though Scotland gave England a severe spanking. Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

The two teams were the best of friends even though Scotland gave England a severe spanking. Picture courtesy of Bloody Scotland

Earlier that day I was waterboy for Gordon Brown and Neil Broadfoot who were painting the pitch. I thought they were always green.

So, another successful year for Scotland’s top crime writing festival.

The committee members, staff and volunteers all deserve a massive round of applause for their Stirling efforts (see what I did there?)

I wonder what they’re going to come up with next year?

 

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The Crime Factor old boy band are getting back together, specially for Bloody Scotland.

Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Mark Leggatt and I will be fielding questions from the audience on crime, crime writing and how to put the two together.

There may even be cat jokes!

We’re appearing in a new venue to Scotland’s top crime writing festival, the Allan Park South Church, at 5.30pm on Sunday September 10.

We like to think we’re the climactic event in the weekend festival. Don’t pay any attention to those who says it’s Lynda La Plante!

You can order tickets here:

Book here

Well, this is scary.

Inspired by the success (well, we enjoyed it) of the #ScotLitFest Crime Collaboration Creation, in which over four hours on Facebook we created a brand new crime tale. It was original, some might say unique, some might say off-beat, some might say just plain crazy.

But here’s the really crazy thing…

We’re going to do it again.

And this time we’ll be within striking distance of the audience!

No hiding behind social media for us – oh, no. We’ll be a mere book’s throw away from the front row.

And in September we’re doing it not once but twice (Yes! Count ’em!)

First up is Bloody Scotland on September 10 in Stirling and you’ll find further details here:

Bloody Scotland event

 

As for the second one, I’ll publish details of that soon.

So if you’re going to Bloody Scotland – and if not, why the hell not? – get yourself a ticket to see Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Mark Leggatt and myself (hereinafter to be known as the accused).

It’s madness – madness, I tell you….

 

To be honest, I can’t believe it’s almost here.

It seems like only yesterday that I shared a stage with Catriona MacPherson, Gillian Galbraith, Russel D McLean and the always wonderful Theresa Talbot (she paid me to say that). But it wasn’t yesterday, it was last September.

This year I’m involved in three things. Yes, three! Some mistake, surely? But no, I’ve managed to elbow my way in.

First up, I’m chairing Kate London, Clare Mackintosh and RJ Mitchell in the ‘From Cops to Robbers’ panel. (Saturday Sept 9, .5.30pm – 6.30pm). They are all former police officers now turned to writing. Naturally, there is no suggestion that they have turned to robbery as well, but I’ll keep a firm grip of my clipboard just the same.

Details here:

From Cops to Robbers

Then, on Sunday, I’m flexing my acting muscles to play Inspector Faro in Alanna Knight’s play ‘The Case of the Vanishing Vagrant.’

I reject any suggestion that because of the way I dress I should play the vagrant.

I’m looking forward to this and can only hope I can fill Stuart MacBride’s shoes adequately. He played Faro in last year’s play and was very, very, VERY good.

What’s doubly daunting is that fellow cast members Marsali Taylor, Abir Mukherjee and Gordon Brown have to perform knowing that a proper actor is standing beside us.

Hollywood star Harley Jane Kozak also write crime and she has agreed to take part in the play.

I know the rest of the cast join me in saying GULP.

Details here:

Inspector Faro Investigates

Immediately after that – we’ll barely have to time to fend off our adoring fans (cough) – Gordon Brown and I will head to another venue for ‘Four Blokes in Search of a Plot’.

Our Crime Factor comrades Neil Broadfoot and Mark Leggatt will make up the quivering quartet trying to create a crime storybefore the audience’s very eyes, while also keeping up a stream of witty banter and interesting conversation. Or something.

Details here:

Four Blokes in Search of a Plot

It’s going to be fun and the entire festival is one not to be missed. Still some tickets left for a wide variety of events.

Full list of panels and events here:

Bloody Scotland 2017