never promises to be entirely serious

St Michael’s Arts Festival: in conversation with Stuart Barr

I was delighted to join St Michael’s Arts Festival when they approached me to talk about my Stockwell Park Orchestra books. Brixton Chamber Orchestra rehearses in St Michael’s Church on Stockwell Park Road, so of course they were interested in someone inventing a pretend orchestra and nicking their geography.

Stuart Barr and I sat down and chatted over Zoom, interspersed with the wonderful cellist Daisy Vatalaro playing three movements from Bach’s first cello suite. I was desperate to ask him about his work with stellar people (Shirley Bassey, for instance!) but in the end we didn’t have time. He was a total professional and kept asking about Stockwell Park Orchestra.

Thank you for inviting me along, Stuart!

You can listen here. It’s available until Saturday 7th November.

Continental Riff

The cover is finished, the links have gone live: the third book in my Stockwell Park Orchestra series will be published on 14th January 2021 and is available to preorder now.


My publishers Farrago are so much better at writing the blurb than I am, so here’s what they say:

When Stockwell Park Orchestra goes on tour to Europe, it proves a challenge for even the most efficient German logistical planner.

A teenage stowaway, brass players falling in canals and a sabotaged timpani van are all in a day’s work for Ingrid Bauer of Note Perfect Tours, but even she can’t solve all the problems this week throws at her. Maybe a bit of surprise Bach can calm the muddy Brexit waters.

She just has to fish out the musicians first.

What can I add? We meet Alexander Leakey, the brilliant French horn player who reminds everyone of Chris Hemsworth. Eliot is conducting, Mrs Ford-Hughes drops in, and there are extra Wagner tuba players and shenanigans. One week, three cities, four separate vehicles. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, and after hassling me to get into the last book’s acknowledgements, my friend Ben Blackman finds a version of himself actually written into this one. I wonder if he’ll save the day.

I hope you enjoy it. Please tell your friends, family and any book-buying acquaintances! I’ve said it before, but preorders and first week sales really are crucial to the life of a book. As Benjamin Dreyer – vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief of Random House and all-round book guru – says:

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We’re also going to be advertising Continental Riff on Classic FM radio, which is a very exciting adventure for me. I reckon that their audience of classical music lovers might be a perfect fit for Stockwell Park Orchestra.

Meanwhile, I’m putting the finishing touches to another short story that will be free to download between now and then, and have just signed my contract for Book 4. Watch this space.

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