In an ideal world that should be ‘Escaping to Greece’, as like so many other Brits I’m just longing for some sunshine and warm sea. The closest I’ve come so far this pandemic is organising ‘Greek Nite’ for my family bubble, with kebabs, dips, pitta bread, Greek salad and bazouki music on CD. I have a longing to explore, and indeed I quit my day job at the end of 2019 to concentrate on my writing and to travel the world. Well, half the plan worked as I have a new 1930s thriller series accepted for publication from next year. As to the travel I only managed to visit Sri Lanka and Alderney before the curtain came down.
My first agent suggested that I use my background as an archaeologist when writing my first mystery series. Coupling this with my love of Greece and its history brought about Byron’s Shadow now republished as an e-book by Lume. My hero is young archaeologist Jeffrey Flint who discovers too much about the murder of an English professor and he is framed as a suspect. My memories of baking hot afternoons exploring sites covered with scattered ruins came back to me vividly as I wrote. When Greek police call at the taverna where Jeffrey is staying he makes an escape over the back of the toilet block and makes off on a bicycle, ‘an environmentally sound means of salvation’. He tears down the hill, making for the coast and a ruined church he can hide in.
‘Flint cast himself down the pothole-cratered road with reckless speed and was soon able to freewheel. No brake levers graced the handlebars, a fact Flint noticed whilst already passing twenty miles per hour. In four minutes he made a mile, his arms shaking with the strain of holding a steady course over endless ruts and stones. He began to guess how long the police would stay at the taverna and how wide their search would be.’
I’ve hired bikes in Greece and discovered as Flint does that the way to brake is to back pedal. It’s hot, it’s dusty and I miss it. So for now it’s the hills and waterfalls and castles of England that I’m exploring. In the sunshine, and yes in the rain too.
The Jeffrey Flint Archaeology Mysteries are now available as an ebook series. You can find out more about Jason Monaghan and his books here.