This time i am talking to author John Rigbey who is a retired London CID Officer and a recognised authority on London's gangland of the sixties and seventies and the various causes célèbres of the “arsenic era” of the twenties and thirties. In 1989 he founded of The West of England Detective Agency, which went on to be probably the most successful and widely used private investigation agency in Plymouth and the South West of England. Having spent over half a century of involvement with the Criminal Justice system (from one side or the other!) is now writing full time and the author of crime fiction in the form of the Michael Gregory novels.
Books & Writing: What got you interested in writing?
John Rigbey: I have always been interested in writing. I wrote stories as a child and after police service I contributed to several magazines(Legaland amongst others) and local newspapers. My first book (published by Authorhouse) was “The strange Michael Folmer affair” published in 2008.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “FROM THE BEATLES TO BLAIR (and some of the bad behaviour in between)”?
John Rigbey: I suppose that the idea of someone emulating the 1888 Ripper's crimes is not new. I had the idea for years but I felt that it was passè and had probably been done before anyway. Then – and this had been kicking about in my mind for years as well – there was the idea of a dead man's fingerprints turning up years after his death. So, why not try and put the two together, I thought!
Books & Writing: Did you need to do any research for the book?
John Rigbey: Very little. Mainly been there, done that, got the T-shirt!
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?
John Rigbey: Roman a clef, to some extent, people i knew, situations which had taken place.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about the main character Michael Gregory.
John Rigbey: Fair, clever, self-doubting at times, unhappy most of the time, dislikes being alone and looking for female company. He is also very shrewd, enigmatic, knows his failings. But is he marginally dishonest, i wonder???
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?
John Rigbey: The third Michael Gregory book called "ONCE UPON A TIME IN SOUTH AUDLEY STREET".
Books & Writing: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years in relation to writing?
John Rigbey: Where i am now, which is nowhere!
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
John Rigbey: Don't do it! Mind you, i still believe that anyone who writes one word for money is a fool. But then again, did Prince Charles need the cash when he wrote his children's books? Does J.K. Rowling still need the money? I don't think so, so i must be wrong and perhaps what makes one write is a bug, a virus which stays all ones life.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
John Rigbey: You can find my work at Amazon in both book form and Kindle.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
John Rigbey: Check out my site at http://www.rigbey.com/ or follow me on Twitter @JohnRigbey.
Below is an excerpt from his book “FROM THE BEATLES TO BLAIR (and some of the bad behaviour in between)”
Kent, South East England. August 2007.
Although there were upwards of a hundred people in the immediate vicinity, the two shots which killed Albert Flight were heard by nobody. A hot Sunday, the car park of his country pub was full to overflowing and as he made his way to the beer garden his only thoughts were of the crowd and the trade he was doing. He looked briefly at the sky and smiled, happy that the sun would be there until late evening and good trade guaranteed.
He dodged between the parked cars and chatting and laughing with the customers as he went, he picked up empty glasses and plates. Seeing a small girl crying by the large slide, he comforted her with hugs and assuring words and, smiling, handed her back to her mother. He wiped the tables and set the metal garden chairs and stools back in position and with his tray as full as he could hope to get it, he made his way between the kiddies’ swing and the monster plastic Wendy house and back out on to the car park.
The laden tray occupied his mind and concentration to such an extent that he did not notice the large Kawasaki motorcycle as it rounded the line of parked cars and approached him from his right. Had he seen it, he might have thought the two riders were somewhat odd, dressed as they were in matching black leather suits and crash helmets with darkened visors, but balancing the empty glasses on his tray was task enough. As the machine neared him, barely moving at walking pace, the pillion rider reached into a side pannier and produced a large automatic pistol with a black silencer attached. Nearer still, the elbow of the right arm firmly in the left hand, steadying the weapon.
Albert heard his name called and looked up, but his brain did not have the time to register what his eyes saw and he never heard the soft, deadened “phunk” of the first explosion. The heavy .32 bullet hit him square in the middle of his chest. He dropped the tray and before it had hit the ground a second bullet hit him between and slightly above his eyes, but leaving his thick-rimmed glasses unbroken. Staggering backwards, he fell on to the edge of the beer garden, eyes staring. Blood was welling from the head wound, the fingers of his right hand twitching as if grasping for some unseen and non-existent means with which to defend himself.