I seem to have been around in the Balkans for some time. My first visit was in 1985 during Communism, and before the political changes. As an Englishman, it all seemed so unusual to me; that little whiff of intrigue, the unfamiliar faces and the suspicious eyes which followed me around, as I found my way in some very unknown territory. But that was then, and now?
This is why I partly set my books in the Balkans, and most recently Greece, where I now live. To me South-Eastern Europe has always held a fascination; the way that – on the surface at least – it all seems so different these days, whilst underneath the mentality and predilections remain much the same, and to be honest, a little Byzantine.
THE LONDON PROPERTY BOY by Patrick Brigham.
Michael Mostyne, a thirty-something developer and property dealer, has fallen foul of Great Britains 1970s economic recession. A property crash like no other, it foreshadows the end of a promising career, but it is also the end of his unhappy marriage to Lavender Mostyne. The tale of his painful struggle to get back on his feet, whilst dealing with the past and an acrimonious divorce, Mike Mostyne leaves his provincial home, moves to London and gets a job running a West London real estate agency. Through hard work, success soon turns to success and his life begins to change for the better. By manoeuvring around his bosses, with their narrow self-interest, his own desire for big money and a wish to be financially independent, means he has to take huge risks.
London is not short of girls, and Mike Mostyne is rarely on his own. Christine, a West End PA and a good time girl, looks at him through a cloud of cannabis smoke. Sofie, a minor Dutch diplomat, disappears when Mike’s son Mark is mysteriously kidnapped by the IRA. And finally, there is Nadezhda Antova, who friends say is an Eastern European honey trap, but who he marries despite their warnings. From rags to riches, and with the next property crash waiting around the corner, will fate finally conspire to finish him off once again? Will, he also find personal happiness with Nadezhda Antova, and why is MI5 so interested?
Patrick Brigham has lived in the Balkans for many years. Originally from London, where he was in the property business, he lived in the City until 1993 and then moved to Sofia. As Chief Editor of a magazine called the Sofia Western News, and the first English language magazine in ex-Communist Bulgaria, it introduced him to the intrigues of Eastern Europe, and a firm understanding of the people living there.
Now living in Northern Greece, Patrick has published many murder mystery novels as well as stand-alone literary fiction and a humorous play. Writing for the more thoughtful reader, Patrick Brigham says –
“I have lived quite an eventful life, so much of what I write is based on fact. Most of my books concentrate on a particular subject, and The London Property Boy does just that and has quite a lot of me in it. We should never simply dwell on the past, but a colourful past is where much of our inspiration comes from.”
Autumn in Northern Greece and that is not the only change, because once again as an author, I am moving away from my usual murder mystery genre with another stand-alone novel, and into the realms of literary fiction.
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This is a very Greek story involving the rain, and how flooding changes us, moves the finger of fate, and causes us to reflect on our lives. A series of short stories, they all happen in the Greek town of Orestiada. Stories which simultaneously interlink and become a part of the whole, centre around Iris – the local DHL courier – who in Greek mythology is not only Goddess of The Rainbow, but also the Messenger for The Gods, thereby connecting the individual tales of this 16 Chapter book.
In it, there is a murderous estate agent, and his equally murderous wife, an aspiring artist looking for recognition in Athens, an estranged couple separated by time who rekindle their love, a Greek- Australian who is from Melbourne, and a visiting bus load of Russian women from Moscow. They have been invited by the mayor, in order that some of the winging local bachelors might find a suitable wife. There is an illegal Syrian immigrant, a disgruntled typically Greek mother who doesn’t want her son to marry at all, and a Greek Orthodox Priest who has lost his faith. All that and more; stories which come so beautifully together in the last chapter –fascinating and enchanting – which can be read and enjoyed individually, but put together, serve to make the whole novel greater than its component parts.
Author Patrick Brigham