Tony on London
My first job in journalism was at New Musical Express (that’s a shot of me with Bruce Springsteen above, when we were young and stepping out into the New York night wearing only our vests) but my first piece of journalism that didn’t involve hanging out with rock stars, was soon after I left the NME, when I was embedded with the Vice Squad at 27 Savile Row, West End Central.
The roots of The Murder Bag start there.
When I was creating the world of Max Wolfe, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do was give my crime novel an evocative sense of place – like Los Angeles in the novels of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, or Edinburgh in the Rebus novels by Ian Rankin, or Brighton in the Roy Grace novels of Peter James – and my home city is London.
27 Savile Row felt like an original location and it had a nice ring to it, like Sherlock Holmes at home strumming the violin in Baker Street. The London of The Murder Bag is contemporary London but the past weighs heavily because London is full of ghosts. So it is also the London of Jack the Ripper, the Krays and The Black Museum – which is Room 101 at New Scotland Yard, closed to the public, where the relics of 150 years of terrible crimes are kept to remind policemen that they risk their lives every time they go to work. The Black Museum is important to The Murder Bag and crucial to my detective: The Black Museum is where Max Wolfe goes to seek wisdom and guidance from a man who is to become his greatest ally. But I don’t want to spoil the book…