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Black Reef

The third Angus McKinnon thriller, provisionally entitled Black Reef, is currently under construction. I’m hoping to get it published in August or September. Meanwhile sales of the first two, Sea of Gold : http://amzn.to/1jkQUYT and Dark Ocean http://amzn.to/2vIPRyJ are ticking along and attracting positive reviews, although inevitably comparisons are made between my ‘English’ English and American English…


I saw recently Rudyard Kipling’s Kim rated as one of the ten best espionage novels of all time. As I recall, I read it when I was around twelve. And that book really did trigger my interest in the world of spies and spying. I must read it again.

RIP Philip Kerr

On a sad note, Philip Kerr, author of the Bernie Gunther series, died recently at the age of just sixty-two. He wrote fourteen Bernie Gunther novels spanning the German detective’s cases from before, during and after WW2 through into the 1950s. The last in the series, which Philip finished shortly before his death, is entitled Greeks Bearing Gifts and finds Bernie in Athens investigating a claim on a sunken ship – familiar territory for Angus McKinnon!

From the archive

I attended a reunion in London last month. A small group of us got together for lunch at the Baltic Exchange. In the seventies we’d all worked for a now defunct shipowner whose story began in nineteenth century Shanghai before moving to Hong Kong. Most of them I hadn’t seen since those days.


At the lunch I was given this photo which I never knew existed. It was taken in Hong Kong harbour by colleague Brian Donaghue when we were on the company launch in July 1973, six months after my arrival in Hong Kong.  I was twenty-four, it was a Sunday (hence casual attire) and typhoon signal number 3 was up (note the sea state). The ship was ordered to move off the buoy and out to an anchorage, but the mooring gang was having trouble unshackling the mooring chain. The ship’s weight was pulling the shackle taught meaning they couldn’t get the pin out. Eventually the ship was moved forward to slacken it off. I’d completely forgotten the incident.


LISBON MARU: “Falling leaves return to their roots”

I’ve written of this tragic saga before, Dark Ocean having been based in part on the story.

Now, the wreck has been located and a Chinese-American businessman is searching for relatives of those who perished. “They spent the last moments of their lives trying to break out,” he says “but after so many years, they remain incarcerated,” the Daily Express reported this week.

He has been encouraged after relatives of those on board contacted him and expressed their wish that the remains be retrieved consistent with the Chinese belief that “falling leaves return to their roots”.

But 97-year-old Dennis Morley, believed to be the last British survivor of the atrocity, has said that “it’s a war grave and should be left”. Conversely, a British woman whose grandfather, Montague Glister, was lost with the ship, said her family would like to see her grandfather’s remains returned.

Explaining his plans for a documentary to honour the dead, Mr Fang said: “With only two eyewitnesses left, we would lose the last opportunity to tell their stories and to remember them if we don’t act now. They at least deserve a decent memorial.”

Available from Amazon:

Sea of Gold: http://amzn.to/1jkQUYT

Dark Ocean: http://amzn.to/2vIPRyJ