The Man from Del Monte
Was it the inscription ‘Commit no nuisance’ engraved on the Welsh Bridge leading out of Shrewsbury into Wales that was the trigger? Or the bogus claim made by my grandparents that the people of Aberystwyth ate a lot of cheese and jelly sandwiches (as did I)?
Either way, at the age of nine I decided to leave the town of my birth, disguise myself as a citizen of Aberystwyth and go to live among them.
I ate the same food as they did, spoke as they did, and like them watered my crust of bread each night with tears.
The sense of betrayal I felt on arriving in Aberystwyth and finding it wasn’t true about the sandwiches never left me and became the grain of sand in the oyster that eventually led to my Aberystwyth Noir series of novels.
I read German at the Universities of Warwick and Freiburg. After that I became, for a while, the world’s worst aluminium salesman, raising the art of not selling aluminium to levels which have seldom been matched since.
In my time I have been an advertising creative director, a BMW assembly line worker, a deck hand on a yacht in the South Pacific and a hotel washer-up.
In 1998 I quit my job in advertising and took a year off to write Aberystwyth Mon Amour, the first draft of which was finished on board a cargo ship off the coast of Guyana. The novel was published in 2001 and was well received and my editor at Bloomsbury suggested I write more in the series.
I duly rented an apartment in Bangkok for three months and wrestled with the problem of how to continue a series about a town I had carelessly wiped off the face of the earth at the end of Book I. Somehow that three months turned into seven years, and one book turned to four.
I left Bangkok in 2007 and now live in Oxford. Currently I teach Oxford University’s Online ‘Writing Fiction’ course, which I also conceived and wrote. I also spend my time drinking beer, fighting tyranny and generally being a bit of a berk.
I’m always pleased to hear from readers. You can write about anything you like, it doesn’t have to be about the books. If you’re not bonkers, I’ll write back. Please be aware, though, that occasionally I reply to people who plainly are bonkers so the receipt of a reply can not be taken as a pyschiatric diagnosis, nor as a certificate of competence to operate machinery. There’s a contact link somewhere, I can’t remember where. Look around. If you can’t find it write to me…ah!
Babylon, Shangri-La, Xanadu…all these great cities have one thing in common: They are difficult to get to. Aberystwyth, by contrast, is just around the corner. Why not sample the delights of this beautiful and oh, so iconic seaside town in the company of Malcolm Pryce, author of the acclaimed Aberystwyth Noir detective books?
Aberystwyth Mon Amour – The Walking Tour takes about an hour, but the memory will last a lifetime. It takes you from the railway station to the harbour in the company of Louie Knight – Aberystwyth’s only private eye – and a host of favorite characters from the books, including Sospan, Cadwaladr, and even a walk-on part by…God!