Welcome to the final day of the blog tour for The TV Detective by Simon Hall. My thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles for the invitation to join.
Sadly, because there’s still no fix for the “not enough hours in the day” problem I’m suffering from, I didn’t have time to read this one. However, author Simon Hall visits the blog to talk about what lead him to start writing a book. But first, here is what The TV Detective is all about.
Author : Simon Hall
Title : The TV Detective
Pages : 314
Publisher : Fahrenheit Press
Publication date : March 22, 2018 (first published in 2010)
Dan Groves is a television reporter newly assigned to the crime beat and not at all happy about it.
Dan knows next nothing about police work or how to report on it, so when he persuades Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen to allow him to shadow a high-profile murder inquiry it seems like the perfect solution. Sadly for Dan it soon becomes clear some members of the police force have no intention of playing nice with the new boy.
With his first case Dan is dropped in at the deep-end. A man is killed in a lay-by with a blast through the heart from a shotgun. The victim is notorious local businessman Edward Bray, a man with so many enemies there are almost too many suspects for the police to eliminate.
As tensions rise Dan comes close to being thrown off the case until the detectives realise that far from being a liability, Dan might actually be the key to tempting the murderer into a trap.
Life has a way of playing strange tricks on you. The kind that seem awful, but turn out to be wonderful. And one of those led to my career as a writer.
I was already a kind of writer. Kind of meaning I was a journalist, a BBC TV News Correspondent, specialising in the environment.
It was a great job. Wandering across cliff tops, wading through crystal moorland rivers, searching out rare species of bird, all in the name of work.
But I say kind of writing because my reports were only a couple of minutes long. Maybe 150 words. Not a lot of room for creativity, for setting scenes, casting characters, telling deep and intriguing stories.
Still, I was happy enough. Until the day of the summons to my editor’s office.
The old Crime Correspondent had retired. Cost cutting meant he hadn’t been replaced. We were missing good stories. The viewers were noticing.
Would you like to take up the crime beat? he asked.
No thanks, I replied. I’m very happy with the environment.
You don’t understand, the grizzled old hack said, leaning forwards so he slipped into the shadows, the smell of cigarettes tainting the area around me, a yellowed finger tapping on a stack of P45 notice of termination of employment forms.
Would you like to take up the crime beat?
I slipped into a dark well that night. I was very happy covering the environment. I knew all the stories, the key players. About crime I knew precisely nothing. Except that it sounded nasty, something to be avoided, not wallowed in.
The first couple of stories were a straightforward disaster. All the other crime reporters knew their stuff and picked up on angles I missed. I visited my editor’s office again, and it was even less fun that the last time.
So I came up with a solution. To shadow the police on a murder inquiry. To get a fast track, insider’s experience of detective work.
Luckily for me, the cops saw the potential of having a hack to indoctrinate and manipulate. They went for it.
And it was absolutely, five star, trumpet fanfare fascinating.
The way detectives go about their work, the tricks they pull, the games they play, I had no idea. And I was even useful myself. With a story I put out, and what it lead one of the suspects to do.
I can’t go into any more details on this one. It’s a kind of told you too much already, now I’ll have to kill you thing.
But I was so intrigued by this dark and devious, seedy and shady new world that I didn’t just want to write news about it. I began to write a book.
And that’s where The TV Detective was born.
A television reporter who doesn’t just cover crimes but gets so involved in the cases that he helps the police to solve them. Often using the power of the media to do so.
Just don’t ask me how much of my books are autobiographical.
[So, Simon, how much of your books is …. Just kidding. Thank you so much for stopping by!]
Simon Hall is an author and journalist. He has been a broadcaster for twenty five years, mostly as a BBC Television and Radio News Correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories Britain has seen.
His books – the tvdetective series – are about a television reporter who covers crimes and gets so involved in the cases he helps the police to solve them. Seven have been published.
Simon has also contributed articles and short stories to a range of newspapers and magazines, written plays, and even a pantomime. Alongside his novels and stories, Simon is a tutor in media skills and creative writing, teaching at popular Writers’ Summer Schools such as Swanwick and Winchester, on cruise ships and overseas.
Simon has also become sought after as a speaker, appearing at a variety of prestigious literary festivals. His talks combine an insight into his writing work, along with some extraordinary anecdotes from the life of a television reporter, including the now notorious story of What to do when you really need a dead otter.
Now 49 years old, he began a broadcasting career as a DJ on the radio and in nightclubs, then moved into radio and TV news. He worked in Europe, London, Ireland, and the south west of England, before settling in Cambridge.
Simon is married to Jess, Director of Libraries at the University of Cambridge, and has an adopted daughter, Niamh. She’s an army officer, which makes her father both very proud and very nervous.
Simon lectures on careers in the media at Cambridge University, and in schools and colleges. Amongst his proudest achievements, he includes the number of young people he has helped into jobs in broadcasting, and aspiring writers into publication.
As for his likes, Simon lists beer – he judges at real ale festivals – cycling the countryside, solving cryptic crosswords, composing curious Tweets and studying pop lyrics.