There is a synopsis of teach of the four Jimmy Suttle novels below.
Click the cover to go to a full review of the book
Opinions are like, well, I’m sure you know the old and rather vulgar adage about everyone having one, but in my view, if you know of any contemporary writer who wrote four better books, each hypnotically linked together over four years then, to quote one of my favourite poets, “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din”. Other genders are available on written application.
Along the coast we go now, but not far from Jimmy Suttle’s former stamping ground. We are headed for the Isle of Wight, and a visit to an author who is one of the cleverest fellows on the literary scene. Meiron (MJ) Trow and I share one or two chapters should anyone write our biographies. We both attended Warwick School – he a couple of years down from me, and I don’t think we were ever aware of each other. Secondly, we both went on to become teachers – he of history, and I of Music. One of the lovely ironies here is that his wonderful autobiographical character Peter ‘Mad Max’ Maxwell, a much loved but rather anarchic history teacher at an Isle of Wight secondary school, is always at odds with the idiocy and politically correct incompetence of his senior management team. Me, I actually became part of senior management towards the end of my career but, unlike the muppets in Meiron’s school, I hope I retained my sense of the absurd.
MJ is alive and well, and still writing, and Peter Maxwell appeared as recently as 2020 with Maxwell’s Summer. The series started in 1994 with Maxwell’s House, a title which (if you were around in the 1960s) will give you some idea of MJ’s wonderful sense of English domestic history – and his inability to resist a pun. The books are highly enjoyable, but never cosy. There is a streak of melancholy never far from the surface, and we are reminded that Maxwell’s first wife died when the car they were in was involved in a fatal collision. Max has never driven since, and his trusty bicycle is a regular prop in the stories. Max eventually marries his policewoman girlfriend Jackie Carpenter, which is only right and fair, since she is the plot device that has given him a very convenient ‘in’ with local murder investigations. MJ Trow has several other CriFi series to his name, and I list them below.
Inspector Lestrade – in which Trow ‘rehabilitates’ the much maligned copper in the Sherlock Holmes stories. 17 novels, beginning in 1985.
Kit Marlowe – in which Trow has the poet and playwright turning detective. 10 novels, beginning in 2011.
Grand & Bachelor – a former American Civil War soldier and an English journalist start a detective agency in Victorian London. 7 novels starting in 2015.
Margaret Murray – is an archaeologist turned amateur detective. Set in late Victorian London, the first book, Four Thousand Days, has just been published.
Trow has also written many non fiction books, featuring true crimes such as Jack the Ripper, and the Craig and Bentley case, To read more on Fully Booked, click the author’s image below.