what the hell is going on?

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing - a guest post by our Dandy In Residence - the always dapper Derek Farrell...

 

Well those lovely people at Fahrenheit Press have only gone and done it.

They’ve only gone and put new covers on my first two Danny Bird mysteries. But what covers: Deco influenced, with elements of quirky humour, gritty glamour and all round beauty.

For books which were originally described as “’The Thin Man’ meets ‘Will & Grace’ in South London,” it seems completely apt to me that they now look as beautiful as they do.

In ‘Death of a Diva,’ our everyman hero Danny Bird has lost his job, his home, and his relationship in one day, and just when it seems that things can’t get any worse, they do.
Desperate for a way to restart his life, Danny ends up running the Grimmest Gay Bar in London (“the sort of place you'd want to wipe your feet after leaving”), on behalf of a local gangster who’s been known to chop up anyone who crosses him. And when, on opening night, Danny finds his star turn murdered moments before she’s due to perform, it looks like – between the local Rozzers, the local Gangster, and the oddball coterie of the late Diva herself - Danny might be for the high jump one way or another.

Death of a Nobody, on the other hand, picks up six months later, by which time Danny is trying to run the bar as a Gastropub, catering to the wake of an eccentric and very dead aristocrat and her even more eccentric and (not yet) dead descendants. It’s Agatha Christie’s “After The Funeral,” via Jonathan Harvey’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme,” and when the bodies start piling up once again, Danny and his ever-present sidekick Lady Caroline Victoria Genevieve Jane De Montfort, only daughter of the thirteenth Earl of Holloway, have to go sleuthing to stop a vicious and calculating killer whilst also navigating romantic entanglements, a foul-mouthed, sixteen-year-old blonde with connections to the dodgy gangster, and a London heatwave.

The books have been described as “Like M.C. Beaton on MDMA,” “Brilliantly written,” “A masterful blend of Poirot and the sharpest British sitcoms,” “A wise contemplation of starting over, friendship, rejection, failure, and yes––love,” and – by no less an expert than Monty Python’s Eric Idle - as “Quite Fun.”

Readers have made me smile, cry and swell with pride (often simultaneously) by commenting on how much they’ve loved “Death of a Diva” and “Death of a Nobody,” describing them as “Cleverly written whodunits that keep you guessing,” “Witty, often laugh out loud, fast moving page turners,” and commenting on the fact that “The regular characters have grown and feel like old friends,”and the fact that both “Death of a Diva” and “Death of a Nobody” have appeared on various “Best books of the year” shortlists provided me with some of my proudest moments ever.

Book number three in the series is due shortly, and has Danny and Lady Caz dealing with further mysteries, murders, dirty-doings, dodgy geezers and romantic complications, whilst downing more gin than the entire cast of The Rakes Progress; and Danny Four is already in the pipeline.

But, for now, I’m so very pleased that, as one reader commented, Danny, in “Death of a Nobody,” has come  “Fully out of his shell and he really shines like a peacock resplendent in the morning sun,” because I think that that’s a perfect way of describing the new covers. The books are the same, but the jackets they’re wearing, the drag they’re displaying to the world at last feels right: “Here we are,” they seem to be saying. “We’re gorgeous, and glamorous, and quirky and fun. And available to buy now.”

Take us home; you won’t regret it...