The Vanishing Lord

Medieval Rumpy-Pumpy

PorterGirl gets its first ever sex scene!

Don’t worry, we aren’t about to witness Head Porter wearing nothing but his sock suspenders, getting up to mischief with a wayward Bedder. The staff of Old College are notoriously uptight when it comes to matters below the waist. But original Old College keeper of keys, Humphrey Babthorp, proves by way of his secret diary that Porters were not always quite so averse to a little bit of how’s-your-father, in this excerpt from up-coming PorterGirl novel, The Vanishing Lord

(Mum, don’t read this. I’ll only have to explain it to you later anyway.)


12th December 1448

Never didst I think that I would owe so much to the wayward wick of a candlestick maker! Whenst I first did first findeth him in mine bed with mine bedswerver of a lady Lettice – o! Did mine heart break. But sincetimes as the good Maud Carneby from the kitchens led me astray upon the chopping table I tell thee that forsooth I have not been happier. Only this morrow whenst I did visit the kitchens to check upon the catches and latches, I did findeth her in the all-together, sprawled like a prime cut of brisket upon the sideboard with legs a-pointing to the east and west and a clear invitation to make a journey down south. There was much of a-giggling and a-squirming as I took close council with her lady-bacon and her plentiful dumplings did shudder allways in the tumult. They are more than a handful for any man, I tellst thee, but I have two hands and a determined disposition which served me well in such circumstances. Maud is of the demanding type of womenfolk that likes her meat well roasted so I did no more than to place her on my spit like a suckling boar and roast away across the tabletop until her squeals and shouting made sound as such would waketh the dead. Why, it would not surprise me if poor Ralph Eels hisself was woken from the afterlife by her calamitous roarings. I did not stop with the roasting until she was basted good and proper – inside and out! I never did see to the catches and latches and I didst find mineself in need of creative falsehoods when Gunby didst ask me about them. The good Lord doest not look kindly on those that forswear with their tongues but there is truth in the matter that my tongue was put to good use and I didst give other things a seeing to, if not the catches and latches…






Bedtime Story, Anyone?

A better click-bait title would have been ‘take me to bed with you’, but it wouldn’t be strictly true and you would be taking The Dean to bed too, which might require a stiff drink beforehand.

In any case, here is a quick video of me reading a chapter from the new PorterGirl novel, The Vanishing Lord.

I shall be at the London Book Fair this week, so online activity will be sporadic, although if you find yourself missing my little face, please feel free to keep up with me on Twitter and Facebook. Obviously this week will be a great opportunity for me to work hard in making important contacts and promoting my work. It is certainly not an excuse to go marauding  around Kensington in nifty waistcoats, drinking wine and singing rude songs. No.

PorterGirl : First Lady Of The Keys available now!




The Vanishing Lord – Update

It is no secret that I have fallen somewhat behind with the next book in the PorterGirl series, The Vanishing Lord. It is true to say that I have been distracted by Tony Blair and Poirot – which sounds like the worst threesome of all time, but regular readers will know is simply a couple of reasonably entertaining side projects which have taken my attention from my actual paid work as a writer. Very unprofessional, I know, but I hope you will agree it was worth it.

Anyway, after adjusting to the significant gear change of blogging to novel writing (not to mention taking my mind out of the gutter where the satirical farce of Tony Blair is concerned) I am once again fully ensconced in the world of Old College and my word, is it good to be back. There are many positives of my recent distractions – following the ribald and razor sharp satirical repartee of Who Shot Tony Blair? and the beautifully crafted plots and dialogue of Never A Cross Word, I realised that PorterGirl really needs to up its game. Whilst I can’t promise the trouser-dropping action of the former, nor the exquisite characterisation of the latter, I can reassure you that the experience of both has brought a new dimension to the PorterGirl literary world and I hope you will agree that it has been worth the frivolous diversion.

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Long time readers of the blog will already know that The Vanishing Lord focuses on the theft of Old College’s most famous and valuable art work, the portrait of founding Master, Lord Arthur Layton. This is concern enough, but when The Dean is offered the Mastership of arch rivals Hawkins College, there is some confusion – Hawkins Master Lord Bernard isn’t even dead yet… except, suddenly then he is. In very familiar circumstances, as it happens. And when Deputy Head Porter discovers the diary of one of the original Porters from Old College in 1448, several uncomfortable coincidences from across the centuries resonate with present circumstances in the way that only Old College tradition possibly could and our bowler-hatted friends find themselves once again submerged in murder and skullduggery, when all they really want to do is have a decent lunch and look after the keys. Wouldn’t you just know it?


Deputy Head Porter has yet another dashing new side-kick and Head Porter’s personal life becomes even more complex. Whilst the Porters Lodge try to placate The Master, manage the new Bursars and forever meet the demands of an ever more erratic Dean of College, Porter finds love with an inconvenient policewoman whilst the handsome Detective Chief Inspector Thompson proves more than a little distracting for Deputy Head Porter.

Much importance is placed on a crime that never happened, whilst hideous injustice goes completely unnoticed. But at least everyone gets a decent cup of tea, which is all that really matters, surely?

Here is an extract from the diary found by Deputy Head Porter in the Old Library…

23rd September, 1448

I writeth this record here for the benefit of prosperity and on behalf of all the servants at this brave new playce of learning, even though we all think it strange that it is named Old College when it is only just built this very year. It is for the historie and account of them that don’t know their letters that I make record of our works and doings, lest we be forgot by the passing years.

The mynster said I shouldn’t be working for the University as their ways of science and learnings goes against God but the mynster don’t pay no money for my work at the church on account of the fact that my reward will be in Heaven but my dear darling Lettice has her belly swollen with child and whilst the bread of Heaven can be   bought with prayers, the baker on Peas Hill wants paying in silver so I have no choice about the fact. The mynster says the College is built on the ways of the occult but I heard it was built on the bodies of a thousand sacrificed peasants but then I don’t witan the ways of science, only about my letters, so happenstance that is a type of science. 

It is the fearsome Lord Arthur Layton who is in charge here, but it is a man called Roger Gunby who giveth us servants our orders. He’s got the face of a smellfungus and thinks himself a proper how-do-you-do because of his hat but, forsooth, he is not so bad as all that, even if he doth give the boys a sleaning with his stick if he catches them whiffling. But The Master Lord Layton is verily worse, even if the gentlefolk in The City talk tales of him being a fine man. There is a man named Ralph Eels who is locked in the cellar without his thumbs and Maud from the kitchens says the Lord eated his thumbs in a pie, but Maud gnashgabs about everyone so I know not what I thinkest of that. I said about it to Chidiock who digs the holes and he said Ralph was lucky it was only his thumbs that got eated, the Lord and Master being as fat as a pig with the manners to match. 

Today I was bidden by Gunby to count all the keys and all the locks in all of College and taketh record of the same, on account of me knowing my letters. Now that is to be my purpose – I am the keeper of the keys and woe betide me if a single one goes amiss, God help me, my life won’t be worth living, so Gunby sayest and I believe him. Lettice said the self same thing to me last week on the subject of marriage in that if I didst not make her an honest woman before the sproglet arrives, but now the mynster willst not meet my eye on account of my working for the College and the City mynster wants four groats to wed us, he might as well ask me for my arm and a leg…

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In other news that I can’t tell you about, JK Rowling has stolen my Head Porter for intercontinental television and I say I hope she knows how lucky she is! But all joking aside I couldn’t be happier for my dear friend for his project that I can’t mention, but I am immensely proud.

I always knew I was out of my depth, dear chap 😉