During the 1980s I wrote three novels (details below). This was at a time when publishers were banging on journalists' doors, shouting, 'You know the world - write us a thriller… better still, make it two!' Well, almost. I'd like to say that they are all still in print. They're not. I'm happy to report, however, that they are now considered 'collectibles' and are to be found on Amazon and a number of other sites. When I have the time and inclination, I might even get round to putting them on Kindle.
THE SALE OF LOT 236: published by Constable UK
In the chaotic aftermath of the Florence floods in 1966, an elderly curator in the city's National Library stumbles upon an astonishing historical fragment - a document which claims that towards the end of the thirteenth century the great Italian master Cimabue painted a fresco of the Crucifixion unlike anything he had done before. Some years later, the still-secret information falls into the hands of a pair of sharp Florentine dealers who, with an eye on the international art market, see how they can exploit it to pull off the salesroom coup of the decade.
Against a richly informative background, the twists of a complex and absorbing plot culminate in an auction where it's the loser who takes all.
THE THIRD DAY [US: ON THE THIRD DAY]: published by Constable UK, Macmillan US and Bantam Books US
The year is 1989 and Israel faces the most serious threat to its survival since the creation of the state. America, once its staunchest ally, has issued an ultimatum: surrender the Arab lands taken in 1967 or forfeit all US economic and military aid.
But the Israelis remain unexpectedly confident, for in this game of political poker they hold the trump card - the bones of a man crucified in the first century AD, and with enough archaeological evidence to suggest they could be those of Jesus Christ. While a scandalised Vatican contemplates the ultimate heresy - that on the third day He did not rise again - the Israelis indicate their intention to tell the world. The shockwaves spread to Washington, where a shaken American President assesses the possible effect on unstable Catholic countries around the globe and the consequences for Western security. There is only one course of action: the bones must be got out of Israel - by any means, at any cost.
An unusually thought-provoking thriller, inspired by an actual archaeological discovery made in Jerusalem.
STALKING HORSE: published by Constable UK, Fontana UK, Scribners US, Tudor US and Bungeishunju, Japan
'We have a flame out on our number three engine… Do you copy? We have no, repeat no, engines!' For the crew and passengers of Flight AL 639 from New York to Rome, the million-to-one chance of a triple engine failure becomes a fatal reality above the sub-zero waters of the North Atlantic. For the team of air-crash specialists sent to Cape Cod to investigate, the task seems impossible. No wreckage, no bodies, no clues… until a section of tail-place surfaces. Then, for team member Matthew di Coiano, the investigation takes an unexpectedly personal turn. In the days that follow, Di Coiano's own experience as a pilot convince him that his colleagues are wrong. Whatever downed Flight AL 639, it was not crew error. But only by risking his career can he prove it. Across the Atlantic, another man is risking not his career but his life. British political analyst Adrian Medcalf has been plucked from his desk at NATO headquarters in Brussels and sent behind the Iron Curtain to collect intelligence. But why him? Why have his superiors chosen someone so totally untutored in the ways of espionage for such a high-risk mission? Separated by tides and time, the two men will never meet, but the discoveries of the one will determine the fate of the other.
A tale that will enthral anyone who has ever wondered about the technology that keeps a modern jet airborne. Or, occasionally, doesn't.