The cultural climax that is the Brighton Festival has a new attraction this year – the Dark & Stormy crime festival.

For the first time crime writers and fans will gather in the city that gave us Pinkie Brown, the trunk murders and the race track razor gangs.D&S-TWT

Attractions include talks by Brighton crime writer Peter James and author Tony Parsons, who debuts as a crime writer in May.

Film showings will include the 2009 crime comedy Down Terrace and Layer Cake (2004) starring a pre-007 Daniel Craig, which will be introduced by its screenwriter and author J J Connolly.

A panel entitled Spies: Fact And Fiction will discuss how accurately secret agents are painted in fiction. Expert witnesses will include former Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox and past Director General of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington, author of the excellent series of Liz Carlyle spy novels.

And the Dark&Stormy organisers are promising an even bigger, better bag of swag for 2015.

Brighton Festival runs from May 3-25 Dark & Stormy runs May 23-25. For more info, see, @DarkStormyFest or email Emlyn Rees  at


Grim news that pubs in Romford, Essex, are demanding fingerprint identification before they let you inside. Have we sunk so low that you have to give your dabs before you can get a sherbet.


I’m working on some Danny Lancaster short stories, a travel book on Crete and an ebook based on my father’s war diary and photo album.

Leslie Todd served in the Royal Artillery and some of his pictures have just been posted on Philip Reinders’s gunner website –

This year sees the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June and Arnhem in September as well as the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in August.

It’s worth a look.



Remembering Barbara –