What inspired my crime novel FRIENDS WITH SECRETS?

When I had just graduated and worked in London as a teacher of English as a foreign language, I met so many extraordinary characters from all around the world that I had enough inspiration to write about twenty novels. The only one I have actually written is a crime thriller called Friends with Secrets.   … More What inspired my crime novel FRIENDS WITH SECRETS?

Schools and Bridges Collapsing in Sicily: Thanks Mafia!

Here’s a photo of a road in Sicily which collapsed just ten days after it was built. It’s near Mezzojuso, 25 miles from Palermo. It cost more than Euros 200 million – at least, that’s what the taxpayer forked out for it. The actual materials and work, no doubt, cost far less. I don’t know if … More Schools and Bridges Collapsing in Sicily: Thanks Mafia!

Sour, Corrupt and dominated by the Mafia: The Citrus Industry in Sicily

Delicious juicy oranges and succulent lemons are one of the first things that spring to mind when most people think  of Sicily. The other, unfortunately, is the Mafia, but few outsiders realise how closely they are connected. Citrus fruit trees were brought to Sicily by the Muslim invaders from North Africa in the 11th century … More Sour, Corrupt and dominated by the Mafia: The Citrus Industry in Sicily

A Scandalous Story about the Mafia, Extortion and Cake

Sicily’s Anti-Extortion spokesman is Arrested while Extorting 100k Euros In one of the most delicious news items ever reported since I’ve been living in Sicily, it turns out that one of the main men in charge of combating extortion in Sicily has just been arrested… for extortion. It was “Aggravated extortion,” in fact, which means … More A Scandalous Story about the Mafia, Extortion and Cake

Padre Puglisi has been Beatified. Can we PLEASE talk about the Mafia now?

In Sicily, if you open your mouth and say something about the Mafia, if you just pronounce the word Mafia in public, the reaction will be sharp intakes of breath all around you and horrified silence. It is a social gaffe even more hideous than meeting your new mother-in-law with your flies undone whilst going … More Padre Puglisi has been Beatified. Can we PLEASE talk about the Mafia now?

Can you smell that pong of broken glass? A really rubbishy blog post

My town has 56,339 inhabitants. This morning, when I opened the window, it smelt as if every single one of them had just farted. The noxious gases billowed in and tinged the kitchen air a mustardy pea green. The whiff was coming from the local sewage works, whose manager feels that complying with health and … More Can you smell that pong of broken glass? A really rubbishy blog post

21 Mafia arrests and 2 Mafia murders in my town last week

They arrested 21 Mafiosi in my little backwater of a town last week. All of them had been very high profile players in international organised crime. Along with the 21 arrests, the police also recovered 30 million Euros in cash, buildings, businesses, supermarkets, and other varied loot. The men had been engaged in drug trafficking, … More 21 Mafia arrests and 2 Mafia murders in my town last week