I’ve realised with horror that I didn’t update this diary in August and I can only come to the conclusion that the summer has made me lazy. But I guess even writers need a rest from time to time.
However, it hasn’t all been idleness and lying in the sun (which was in rather short supply in August after a glorious June and July). I’ve finished a new Joe Plantagenet novel which my agent has just sent to the publishers and written a couple of short stories for very exciting projects. I also attended the Crime and Mystery weekend at St Hilda’s as usual in August and it was lovely to meet up with old friends and listen to a series of fascinating talks on the subject of Crime in Times of War.
Summer is also holiday time and, not to be left out, I have just returned from a week in sunny Sicily. I have wanted to visit the island for a while (well, ever since I became an avid fan of Inspector Montalbano). Apparently they’ve now started doing ‘Montalbano tours’ and that’s certainly one to consider for the future. The town where the series is filmed in called Ragusa and looks gorgeous – however, we didn’t have time to visit it as we had a packed schedule. We stayed first at Agrigento where I was able to explore the magnificent Valley of the Temples, built by the Ancient Greeks. Although I’ve done quite a bit of British archaeology it was fantastic to see the classical variety close up. From Agrigento we visited Palermo, the elegant but edgy capital of the island where we had a chance to look around the impressive Teatro Massimo as well as the cathedrals of Monreale and Palermo.
Then we moved base to Giardini Naxos and en route visited the most breathtaking Roman mosaics I’ve ever seen at the 4th century Roman Villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina. There were even mosaics of girls in bikinis – nothing’s new! Taormina is a beautiful town with a stunning Greek theatre (still used for productions after 2,500 years!) and we also visited Syracuse (once home to Archimedes) and the lovely island of Ortygia with its Duomo that was originally built as a Greek temple. My last day was spent wandering around the archaeological remains at Giardini Naxos (the ruins of the first Greek colony on Sicily founded in 735BC).
Holiday reading always requires a great deal of thought and this year I selected two books that I was guaranteed to enjoy – first of all Ruth Dudley Edwards’ satire on conceptual art, Killing the Emperors, which certainly raised a smile or two, and secondly Reginald Hill’s Pictures of Perfection, a novel I’d never read before but, being familiar with the other books in the Dalziel and Pascoe series, I knew I’d enjoy spending time by the hotel pool in the company of Andy Dalziel (the mind boggles!!).
With THE DEATH SEASON due to be published in January, I’m now planning my next Wesley Peterson mystery. So after a rich diet of archaeology (lots of it), pasta (ditto) and wine (ditto) it’s back to earth and back to work.