Rigg's Cabinet of Curiosities



Echo Murder : Laura Laakso

… intriguing page turner …

fantasy ghosts finnish

Yannia, the detective, is one of the Wild Folk who should be with her conclave but … it’s complicated. Her father is dying and she is not ready to take her place in the pack – nor at the side of her betrothed, Dearon.

Instead she is in Olde London trying to solve a murder that hasn’t quite happened yet.

Continue reading “Echo Murder : Laura Laakso”

Argh : where’s your red pen?

I don’t post a review of every book I read.  Why?  I am not a professional reviewer so I’m not obliged to file copy;  and because this site is about celebrating good books not criticising the three stars and below.  However, if anyone is interested, here are the top five faults which stop me recommending a novel I have read or have attempted to read.

  1. Indulgent world building.  It’s like sitting next to an enthusiastic bore. I love your world.  Really I do.  I just don’t need that much of it, thank you.  I want the story.  And my own space to imagine and have fun on my own.  Go away.
  2. Jumping Po470acd1c55ec9b862106a42efd5ea110int of View.  You want me to get travel sickness?  Just jerk me from character to character.  In the same scene.  In the same chapter.  It’s like pinball.  Where’s your empathy?  Try reading it as if it were your first time.
  3. Too many adverbs, she added menacingly.  Stop putting your dirty, annoying, nudge-nudge paw prints all over my reading experience.  Trust your writing will suggest more than the words written on the page.
  4. And here we come to Point Four in my List of Things That Irritate My Reading Experience just in case you haven’t guessed and need it spelt out,  Exposition.  Take out as much as explanation as you dare.  I can work out what’s going on from the merest trace.  I’m a social animal, I’m trained to pick up nuances and hints, and as I am reading a book, it’s what I am expecting to have to do!  It’s fun.  Don’t do it for me.
  5. Getting from scene to scene.  Real life has lots of boring bits.  Yadda Yadda Yadda.  Do not write those bits in.  Think very carefully about including anything that isn’t the main story.  Cut to the chase and signpost it clearly.  If you want the reader to pause or set off in another trajectory, put in two or three sentences of well crafted place description, back story or exposition as a springboard.  Boing!  And off we go again.

Reading back over these points, it is obvious that good writing is like good architecture.  It stands up; there’s nothing extraneous; and you walk through marvelling at its simplicity and inherent rightness … without seeing a hint of any plans or scaffolding.

Beetle Jewellery

42525194_pI was listening to an episode of Radio 4’s Natural Histories on Beetles ( and was fascinated to learn that live beetles have been used as jewellery – with little chain leads and gemstones glued to their backs.  Horrific, yet I can see the allure.

image3444Shiny and iridescent, certain large beetles do look like gem stones but it is not only their beauty which evokes such a comparison.  Surely it is also to do with their miniature perfection, the extreme compaction of so much energy and their transformative nature which makes me think beetles are Nature’s jewels.


Why I Love Old Science

I write in an alternative c17th world, researching into the history of inventions and occasionally pulling technology back into that space from later centuries.  Why?

It is fun.  It is accessible.

It recreates a sense of wonder and creativity – the sheer exhilarating Romance of scientific discovery and invention.

I grew up with a very scientific older brother who seemed to grasp instantly the detail of incomprehensible particle physics and who revelled in all the  logical-Mr Spock- shiny white sterile laboratories it seemed to entail.

Whereas I have always wanted simple, mechanical explanations that I could visualise.  I want dirt and grime and the smell of grease on hot metal. It is more tangible and emphasises the work-in-progress feeling.   It makes me remember that scientific theory is a collection of ideas about how to explain the world.  It may not be right but it fits.

And to celebrate that fact here is Solomon’s House, a fictional institution in Sir Francis Bacon’s utopian work, New Atlantis, published in 1627.

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