– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Lazarus Charter’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but b
About the Author :
Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years. He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.
Bob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death?
This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne. They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home in this fast-paced spy thriller from the author of ‘Smile of the Stowaway’.
Guest Post :
The main inspiration for writing The Lazarus Charter came to me in February 2019. I was waiting on a London Underground platform as a train came in. One of the passengers stepping out of the compartment vaguely resembled a friend of mine. It would have been an amazing coincidence if it had been my friend, I thought, and, of course, we would have stopped and had a chat.
But then I wondered what would happen if someone spotted a friend on a train who couldn’t possibly be there because they were no longer alive. In other words, someone whose funeral they had been to.
This became the starting point for my novel. In my mind, teacher Bob Shaw (who featured in my first book, the crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway) became the man standing on the Underground platform and his close friend Professor Gus Morley became the man on the train.
I went home and the next day, as soon as I started writing, the rest of the plot simply fell into place. Three months later, in May of last year, the first draft was completed.
I like to think that this spy thriller, The Lazarus Charter, is a natural sequel to Smile Of The Stowaway. The first book began with the marriage of Bob and Anne Shaw being sorely put to the test by the arrival in their midst of immigrant Yusuf Osman.
In this second book, their marriage is severely challenged again – this time by Bob’s absurd-sounding claim that, weeks after they attended the funeral, he has seen his friend Morley alive.
And in the same way that Anne took charge of events in the first book when Osman became a murder suspect, Anne at once assumes responsibility – embarking upon an in-depth investigation into whether the professor has faked his own death.
As the story develops, the couple’s lives are turned upside down and they are forced to leave their home. But who is behind the threats against them? And who or what is the dreaded Eagle’s Claw?
The latter part of the story was partly influenced by a series of poisoning incidents in Britain over the past decade and a half. An attempt was made in 2018 to poison former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury with the nerve agent Novichok. But there have been many other macabre events involving Russians living in the UK– in particular, the murder with polonium of Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. I was working as a freelance reporter in London at the time of Litvinenko’s death and can recall the grim scene in Muswell Hill as scenes of crime officers erected a white tent outside the Litvinenko family home.
Russian intelligence agents were reportedly involved in these deaths – the kind of incidents we used to associate with the Cold War between Russia and the West.
The peak of the Cold War came in the 1950s and early 1960s with the unmasking of Soviet spies like Burgess, Maclean and Philby. But it was finally believed the Cold War had come to an end when the Berlin Wall came down in Germany in 1989 and Russian Communism came crashing down with it. How wrong we were! It seems (although no longer associated with Communism) the Cold War never really went away.
The Russian intelligence officers that appear in The Lazarus Charter, Dmitry Bogdanov and Sergei Petrenko, are not based on any real-life figures, but their characters have been inspired by some of the events I have outlined here.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds