How come every book of the Bill Reyner series has a good looking girl on it except one – Mania? Now that’s an easy one – in fact all books of the series have a beautiful girl on the cover. Fiend’s Gold depicts a blond psychopathic killer. She’s beautiful and very deadly as Bill quickly found out. In Mania the front cover depicts the unfortunate little Mary Bean, she was murdered by the cult and buried in the forest. Forman Roy found the skull. With Edinburgh Cuckoos we only show the sexy leg of a hostile and gun toting Scottish murderer who fools Bill into thinking she’s his friend. Meall McLean is friendly, sexy, willing and polite, but turn your back and your dead. When Bill looked into the mystery of a vanishing Jean Williams he runs into an evil genius who trades in spare body parts. Poor Jean is on the cover. Damp Graves refers to the disposal of the unwanted body pieces. Now Lions and Christians is a fun story, where Bill gets into loads of trouble, but like all good heroes he comes through in the end and he gets the girl. This time the girl is a lovely Chinese woman Tan Chu. The very serious woman on the cover of The Canadian is in fact Bill’s mentor and sometimes his tormentor, Jane Overland. The Dutchman is much brighter and sports a lovely American Miss with the stars and stripes. She is of course Deloris Sondecker, one of the captain’s many willing young assistants. I didn’t want to use Deloris twice so when it came to The Mermaid I made use of the motorcycle gang’s moll. I thought she looked nice, even though her master was not. Although Bill tries to be a good business man he can’t make up his mind what business he wants to be in – helicopters, airlines, mining, or even detective work. But with a little push from almost everyone he makes a million out of the three inventors who created The Magnuscarter. The cover is a depiction of the dead girl found in the snow. Lastly we have The Agency, the newest one in the series. The cover picture is the pitiable mindless Pauline Eldridge who Bill rescues -oh, wait a minute, maybe it’s the other way round? Keep your eyes peeled, for The Agency, it should be on the market any minute now. Excitement, murder and mystery abounds, but Bill comes to the rescue.
Some people ask me, “Why Bill Reyner?” I suppose that’s a good question, as I don’t really have an answer. I like Bill, but I think I like poor old Newf more. Bill’s a little bit of a bully and a show off, whereas Newf merrily wends his way through life absorbing Bill’s derogatory remarks. Bill has a knack of finding trouble – he’s the magnet and disasters are the iron filings. If there’s any problem in any neighbourhood Bill will surely stumble into it. I particularly enjoyed writing Lions and Christians. For some reason that story just flowed, I could see every detail through my mind’s eye. Wilson was just asking for it and poor Bill wasn’t up to it, but the Canadian Air Force surely did a fine job on him, and the Major, I just loved giving him his comeuppance.
In Damp Graves Bill was up against a man of high intellect but none-the-less managed to confuse him into making mistakes, even so Newf was the hero and actually did all the rescuing. I think the Dutchman is my second favourite. The story is loosely based on the London gold robbery. They got caught because they were too greedy. In the Dutchman my bad guys were smarter, but not quite smart enough. I visited the area and the church in question. I had a ball along that wonderful Norfolk coast. Bill fell head over heels in love with a girl from a local post office. In real life I met her, she was magnificently beautiful, but one early morning when I went to buy my breakfast, (yes from the post office.) I saw her kissing another woman. Well I just had to introduce her to Bill, not that the real girl would ever know.
I’ve just finished the tenth story in the Bill Reyner series, Agency. This time Bill’s up against an evil genius scientist. After starting his new detective agency Bill takes a holiday in the wild. Only Bill Reyner could pick the exact spot where evil abounds. Outwitted at every turn, his old buddy Hugh Zaskin quietly threads the pieces together.
Now of course I can’t just sit and hope there’s another story somewhere. No, I’ve started the eleventh book in the series. This one’s called Cursed. It will explain all the background skipped in the first ten books. For example, what happened to Newf’s mother? Why does Newf speak so funny? How did Bill’s parents die? Where did Jane Overland come from? and a hundred other questions that fans have asked me. Cursed neatly ties them all together into a another horrifying and deadly tale of mystery and suspense.
I thought it would be exciting to visit as many British Islands as possible, without being silly of course. As a family we sat down and examined the map of Britain. Hmm, quite a daunting task as the islands are scattered and very numerous, and how does one get from one island to another? Having been to Scotland several time before I knew that P&O supply just about all the ferry ships in that part of the world. Not knowing where P&O were based – I assumed London. I wrote a nice little request for travel information and mailed it to P&O London England. I figured the postman would know the exact address. Surprisingly some three weeks later I received a large manila envelope and in it were timetables, suggested routes and everything you would ever want to know about travel between the Scottish islands. Oh yes and the P&O headquarters is in Lerwick Shetland Islands, not London. We landed at Heathrow in London and took a hire car. Our first island was St Michael’s Mount – excellent, a beautiful castle on a rock just off the coast. Next we took a helicopter ride to St Mary’s Scilly Islands, and then a boat to Tresco Island. This is not a travel guide so suffice it to say it was interesting and exciting. You can look the places up in any good travel guide. The big plunge, so-to-speak, was when we arrived in Scotland. The Isle of Sky is not a place that can easily be seen in one day. There are castles, soddies, (Turf houses.) and beaches, cliffs and very interesting locals – both pubs and people. The next part of our trip was definitely the most dramatic. A ferry ship took us to the Orkney Islands, where we stayed several nights and visited many of the adjoining islands. History abounds there and goes back to the Stone Age. The idea of a story came to me, the islands and the island people would make a perfect backdrop. The power and ruggedness of the coast was quite intimidating. We found one area where ships had been deliberately sunk to block the channels between islands. Some of the ships you can actually walk on if the tide is out. The trip to the Shetland Islands was long and the sea quite rough. One of our party succumbed to seasickness. Personally I’ve never been travel sick on anything, and on one occasion I was at sea for 25 days. The Shetlands are fabulous and I highly recommend them. Oh yes, we actually visited P&O headquarters, which is right on the harbour front. We hired a fisherman to take us out to Mousa Island where I have never seen so many seals in my life before and been so dangerously close to them. That island also has a brock (Stone fort) which is in excellent condition and it predates Christ by a couple of thousand years. Having had such an exciting tour I couldn’t wait to write about it in some form or other. I created another adventure for Bill Reyner. In my story The Secret of Castle Duncan I called Mousa, Percies Island. In Edinburgh Cuckoos I changed the names of places and castles, not wishing to upset any real people.
Considering I love to write science fiction – I don’t believe in aliens from another world. Let me explain, firstly it defies common sense, assuming aliens have any. Just think about it, any perfectly happy alien living on a world that has to be more advanced than ours, what possible reason could there be for him, her, or it, to come to this part of the galaxy. It would be a one-way journey and cost millions of alien dollars, not to mention the immense time it would take. Okay, nuf-said.
Several years ago when I lived in England our house was the last in the street and as it happens almost dead centre in a quarter circle of railway. The rail track came up from London then took a left turn where I lived, but it was a long slow turn. Our house was a good quarter mile from the turn. At this point in the railway there were some thirty sidings that accompanied the curve, known as East Junction.
So what’s all this got to do with aliens? Ah! You see this particular night my friend had just left and it must have been close to one in the morning. Only a few moments after he had left our house I went outside, just before locking up for the night. The railway attracted my attention. There for all to see was a huge light. Obviously it must have been on a wagon, as it was not there earlier. The sight of this light puzzled me – why would they have a light on a wagon, especially one that big. I wandered down the back garden to have a closer look at this light. By this time my eyes were becoming accustomed to the night. I could see clearly that this – er, thing, was in fact twice the size of the large signal house over at East Junction. What kind of wagon could carry such a device? As I watched, totally confused, the thing moved slowly. It appeared to be following the curve of the railway track again it stopped. Now the object was clearly in my sight, it had moved from due east to north-north-east. The sudden and frightening realization of what I could be watching rattled my bones. I ran to the house and called my wife.
“Look, look, what do you see?” I yelled.
Like me, she thought it was a light, and like me, as she watched it the realization of what it wasn’t became obvious. After several more minutes it moved again, more toward the north, then suddenly shot off at an angle directly away from us and vanished almost instantly into the night sky.
Nothing on earth could move that fast or accelerate that quickly. There was no engine noise, no sonic boom, and it didn’t make a sound as it moved the air aside. We both agreed as to what we had seen but differed in the translation. My wife was and still is convinced it was a visitor from another world. I say it has to be some form of natural phenomena and really wasn’t anything like it appeared to be. Yes, that’s true I am in total denial. When the little green man shakes my hand, I will be prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe.