An Interview with Paul Mathews

An Interview with Paul Mathews

Today’s guest author is a “Quite Funny Guy” and has written not one but two comedy thriller / mystery series. The first, the We Have Lost series takes place in a near future United Kingdom and follows the trials and tribulations of government employee and wannabe secret agent Howie Pond. The second series takes place in the fictional British countryside town of Upper Goosing – European Murder Destination of 2015 – a town with an unsettlingly high murder rate that trades on its gory past. This series follows Detective Clinton Trump, an investigator with delusions of grandeur with ego of unimaginable proportions. You’ll find reviews for all of these books here on Books and Beyond Reviews. Today, please join me in welcoming Paul Mathews to the blog!

Books and Beyond Reviews: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Paul. I’ll start with some ice breaker questions to help us get to know the man behind the comedy. First up, if you could choose any two famous people to have dinner with who would they be?

Paul Mathews: As I write murder mysteries, I’ll choose one living and one dead person, if I may. In terms of the deceased, it would have to be my favourite author, Douglas Adams, because he was a unique talent with such a surreal sense of humour. Douglas also loved food which would mean that if he was throwing the dinner party, I’d be guaranteed an excellent meal, as well as a steady stream of after-dinner anecdotes. Someone who’s still able to eat dinner? Maybe Greta Thunberg, because nobody like her has come along before and made such an impact at a young age. She’s also very tiny, so if I was paying, the bill would be manageable!

BaBR: If you could hang out with any cartoon character, who would you choose and why?

PM: Dangermouse was one of my favourites when I was a kid. Along with his trusty sidekick, Penfold, there were a formidable crime-fighting team. And they were funny, but not always in a predictable ‘Tom and Jerry’ slapstick way. They could probably solve some of my murder-mysteries a lot quicker than Detective Clinton Trump!

BaBR: I was always fond of a bit of Dangermouse. Classic, comedic crime-fighting capers! If you could see one movie again for the first time, what would it be and why?

PM: I saw the original Terminator movie on a VHS recorder when my brother’s friend brought it round during some exam revision (I think that’s what happened – we’re talking more than 30 years ago). Initially, I was only half-watching it – it was during the day and my parents were at work, so it was on in the background. But I started to become fascinated by the Terminator character. There was just so much tension, it was amazing. And it has that whole ‘Can mankind make it?’ thing going on. Very appropriate, given the world’s current predicaments.

BaBR: Would you rather travel back in time to meet your ancestors or to the future to meet your descendants?

PM: As I don’t have any direct descendants (I only have a cat and dog and they’ve both been neutered!), I guess it will have to be time travel to the past. I’d be interested in visiting a brewery that my father’s grandfather and great-grandfather ran in Surrey in the mid-19th-century – purely because I’d get free beer!

BaBR: And now, the final question before I move on to talk about your books. Who is your favourite author?

PM: I’ve already mentioned Douglas Adams so I suppose my next favourite author is me..! As I never tire of saying, I’ve read all my novels at least ten times and thoroughly enjoyed them all. It may sound odd but I still laugh at all my jokes. I do forget some of what I’ve written and they are the best laughs. It’s a bit like going back in time to when you wrote them. Your past self can really surprise your future self

BaBR: When you set out to start writing, did you always know that it would be comedy thriller / mystery novels, or did you eventually arrive at the genre?

PM: I wrote some short murder-mystery plays for amateur groups before I started on novels, as well as two full-length comedy plays, so comedy mystery / thrillers seemed the most natural genre for my books. I’ve always been interested in comedy writing since I was at school. Sadly, back then, there were zero opportunities for people like me. But self-publishing via Amazon opened up the world of novel-writing to me. It was a natural progression from playwriting and that previous experience means snappy dialogue is one of my strong points.

BaBR: Of Clinton Trump and Howie Pond, which do you identify with the most?

PM: The character of Howie Pond is definitely who I identify with the most. He has elements of my personality (I was always fond of popping to the pub at lunchtime for a Guinness!) and I worked as a UK Government press officer for 16 years, so a lot of what Howie Pond has to suffer in the ‘We Have Lost’ series as a presidential spokesman is loosely based on those experiences. I probably share Clinton’s general lack of patience with the world. I think we all think of ourselves as undiscovered geniuses, so maybe that as well!

BaBR: With two series under your belt, will your next book be something different, or do you have plans to carry on the tales of Clinton or Howie?

PM: I’ve decided to write a completely different comedy novel for my next effort. Entitled ‘An Accidental Royal Kidnap’, it will be a mystery of sorts but it’s more of a modern comedy adventure. It will follow a week in the life of recently-dumped London schoolteacher George Nearly after he finds a real-life princess face down on his living-room rug the morning after his 39th birthday party. You will see everything from George’s point of view and won’t know what anyone else is thinking or feeling – other than what George perceives that to be – which adds to the general sense of confusion about what is going on. It will include all the usual pondering on life, the universe and everything that my other novels include but this time it will be firmly based in modern-day reality. Well, not completely – there won’t be a global pandemic for George to contend with but apart from that, it will be the real world.

BaBR: Do you envisage any future books breaking away from the comedy thriller / mystery genre, and if so, what other genre would you be keen to try your hand at?

PM: As a Douglas Adams fan, comedy science-fiction would be the natural choice. I did a lot of planning for one, a couple of years ago, but dropped it eventually because I just couldn’t generate enough enthusiasm to write it. I think, once you’re established as a writer in a particular genre, it’s best not to travel too far from your literary home. And outer space is probably a little too far for me.

BaBR: Have you drawn events in either book series from anything in particular from your life or things you have heard, or have they all been entirely thought up?

 PM: I drew on my experiences of working in government, where there are lots of self-important people who often border on incompetence, while the smarter people tend to pick up the pieces. A small number of characters are also based on people I worked with in that environment. But the storylines are all completely original. ‘We Have Lost The President’ was a good choice of title for a first novel and after the election of Donald Trump as US president I think it’s the kind of scenario – a president going missing – many people would like to see happen in the real world!

BaBR: Thank you for taking the time to answer my weird and wonderful questions and I look forward to whatever your next book may be!

To Kill a Shocking Bard by Paul Mathews

To Kill a Shocking Bard by Paul Mathews

When Upper Goosing’s premier poet, Percy Bishe, expires after scoffing a jumbo cream horn in the Tourist Trap café, foul puff-pastry play is immediately suspected. However, there’s a not-so-sweet surprise in store for Detective Inspector Clinton Trump, when his newly promoted deputy, Sergeant Dinkel, is handed the case and Clinton is left on the side-lines like a piece of stale shortbread. Will our detective genius manage to muscle his way into the investigation? Is Sergeant Dinkel up to the task of tracking down the bard’s killer? And will the murderer get his just deserts? Find out, in this final, lip-smacking Clinton Trump Detective Genius adventure!

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author.

To Kill a Shocking Bard brings the Clinton Trump detective trilogy to a close in spectacular style. Local poet Percy Bishe dies in mysterious circumstances, chowing down on his last ever jumbo cream horn during a poetry night in the Tourist Trap Cafe. Fingers are pointed in every direction. Is the baker guilty? The proprietress of the cafe losing customers whenever the poetry group meets? Was it rival poet Byron Lourdes? Or could the culprit be any one of a number of possible suspects with the slightest of reasons to kill him off?To Kill a Shocking Bard Paul MathewsSergeant Dinkel takes charge of the heinous murder much to the disgust of Detective Inspector Clinton Trump, Sout East England’s greatest investigator. While Dinkel heads out to investigate Upper Goosing’s latest murder, the bumbling detective stumbles his way through his own efforts to grab the glory all for himself. As the two cases converge through mishap and fluke another deadly situation befalls the investigative partners.

The third and final book in the trilogy rounds things off nicely. It’s full of comedic events and black humour as per the first two books in the series. The bumbling investigators and the outrages twists make this an entertaining read. There are plenty of little references to Paul Mathews’ We Have Lost series of books, and to himself, always in a humorous and self deprecating manner.

Though vastly different to the We Have Lost series, the Clinton Trump trilogy have been entertaining, silly, dark and enjoyable in equal measure. With Mathews moving on to a new series with new characters, I look forward to seeing what he produces next.

 

My rating:
goodread

The Blood Moon of Doom by Paul Mathews

The Blood Moon of Doom by Paul Mathews

When celebrity astronomer Edwin Bubble is found battered to death by his own telescope, the morning after a ‘Blood Moon’ lunar eclipse, Detective Inspector Clinton Trump crashes onto the scene like a megaton meteorite who’s late for a date with a small, blue-green planet at the edge of a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

With Edwin tipped to win a trip to space in the ‘Celebrity Come Mooning’ reality TV series – and a return trip, budget permitting – South East England’s greatest detective makes it his mission to figure out which lunatic launched Edwin Bubble to the heavens a little earlier than anticipated.

Could the murderer be Edwin’s estranged son, Tycho? Is the killer a fellow celeb who wants Edwin out of the way? Or are they a schoolmate still seething over schoolboy pranks in the days before travelling to Mars was a cool idea?

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author.

Paul Mathews returns with the second instalment in the Detective Clinton Trump series, The Blood Moon of Doom. Hot on the heels of having solved the murder of a butler, drowned in his homemade mango chutney, genius Detective Inspector Trump has another mysterious death on his hands. Upper Goosing, European Murder Destination of the Year 2015, has seen its fair share of suspicious and untimely deaths, so the discovery of celebrity astronomer Edwin Bubble dead in his garden is no surprise to residents. Neither is it a great shock to discover he has been smashed about the head with his own telescope.43303288

Once again Mathews brings comedy in bucket loads as DI Clinton Trump bungles his way around the investigation following gut instincts and jumping from one implausible suspect to the next with little to no evidence. A supporting cast of characters met in the previous book help ratchet up the hilarity and absurdness as does a cohort of over-inflated celebrity egos bolstering the cast.

The Blood Moon of Doom makes for a quick read. The hilarity and absurdity of a case led by Clinton Trump kept me wanting to know what ridiculous assumptions he would leap to next. The exasperation of his colleagues and his often incorrectly detected suspects add to the mirth Mathews’ books deliver in spades.

In the Clinton Trump series, Paul Mathews has created something reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries. The way the book follows the investigation from clue to clue, the ever growing list of possible suspects all of whom are plausible depending on whose viewpoint you look at things from has a striking resemblance to a classic Poirot investigation. The healthy dose of comedy sprinkled liberally from the first to the last page make this book, and moreover the series to date, a fresh and funny journey that while being a subtle nod to the Poirot stories, are something new and fantastic fun to sit and read.

My rating:
goodread

A Very Funny Murder Mystery by Paul Mathews

A Very Funny Murder Mystery by Paul Mathews

Untimely death is part of everyday life in the quirky English village of Upper Goosing – European Murder Destination of the Year 2015. And when Lady Peculiar’s butler – a part-time comedian – is found drowned in mango chutney, Detective Inspector Clinton Trump comes blundering onto the scene – ready to shun logic, breach protocol and trust in his own gut instincts.

What will “South East England’s greatest detective” uncover? Is her ladyship a murderess? Was the killer a comedy rival? Or are darker forces at work in this particular corner of Brokenshire? Join our self-proclaimed British detective genius, as he races against time to solve this very funny murder mystery – so he can play in a golf tournament without distraction!

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Self-titled quite funny guy Paul Mathews, whose books have featured regularly on Books and Beyond Reviews, returns with the first book in a new series. Taking a break from Howie Pond in the We Have Lost series, The new series brings us an all new hero – Clinton Trump, South East England’s greatest detective. A Very Funny Murder Mystery takes us to Upper Goosing in Brokenshire, a quaint, chocolate box English village that just so happens to be home to a higher than average rate of murders.
42140765In the upper class of the village, a ladies curry night ends with the murder of the manor butler, drowned in his own mango chutney. Detective Inspector Clinton Trump with all the confidence a man who would bestow himself the title of greatest detective in the region arrives to take charge of the case and solve it by the end of the week so that he might enjoy a golf tournament at the weekend undisturbed.

In much a similar fashion to the We Have Lost series of books, the investigation is riddled with twists and turns and thanks to the overconfidence of Clinton Trump, his dislike at having to work with sidekick Constable Dinkel, an overbearing boss and a passionate desire to dodge work and get out to the golf course and often descends into farcical comedy. In his now typical style, Mathews manages to poke fun at just about anything possible – from American tourists and upper class dinner parties to self-important detective inspectors and a fantastic laugh at the expense of Russian visitors to Salisbury Cathedral. And in a humorous twist we even get an entertaining chapter seen through the eyes of Trump’s long suffering cats.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the We Have Lost series of books from Paul Mathews I held high hopes for this latest outing. Once again the genre, this time mystery rather than spy, has been taken and butchered with the bluntest of hatchets into something that could never be accused of taking itself too seriously. Mathews brings the laughs, creates colourful characters who all have relatable problems and puts them into laughable situations creating the beginning of what looks to be a brilliantly funny new series.

My rating:
goodread

We Have Lost The Plot by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The Plot by Paul Mathews

London, 2046. The movie industry is coming to town for the launch of the FAB movie awards. But when British president and former actor Zayn Winner loses a screenplay he’s written that parodies fellow world leaders, all Hollywood hell breaks loose. That’s the cue for long-suffering presidential spokesman Howie Pond to be handed a leading role in the hunt for the missing script.

To add to the movie mayhem, British intelligence identifies a possible plot to sabotage the FABs ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Howie’s secret-agent wife, Britt, is tasked with identifying the plotters and averting a real-life Hollywood disaster.

Along the way, Howie and Britt encounter actors, actresses, movie moguls and more, as they’re both sucked into a story that sees them – and the people around them – lose the plot on more than one occasion.

Will the screenplay be found before Britain is embarrassed on the international stage? Can the plotters be unmasked before the dramatic denouement? Find out, in this latest crazy, comedy adventure from British drama king Paul Mathews!

I purchased a copy of this book for my personal reading.

The self-titled Quite Funny Guy Paul Mathews is back with the fifth outing for hapless presidential spokesman Howie Pond and his long-suffering secret service agent wife Britt. Having already lost the president, the pelicans, the coffee and the chihuahuas Howie has the dubious pleasure of unearthing a missing movie plot. But this isn’t any old plot, but one written by ex-actor of questionable talent and current British President of even more questionable ability, Zayn Winner. A movie plot with so many stereotypes it has the power to upset world leaders everywhere.
39809491As if that isn’t enough of a headache, Britt finds herself trying to uncover an unknown plot from unknown aggressors towards the very first Film Awards of Britain. With little to no information to go on thanks to the ineptitude of her colleague Lorraine Grayson, Britt has a race against time to uncover the plot and foil it before it ever gets off the ground.

Mathews’ fifth outing manages to tick all the boxes that have made the previous four books so entertaining in my view. Twists, turns, hilarity and intrigue abound in We Have Lost the Plot with familiar co-stars returning to support Howie and Britt including President Zayne Winner, First Lady Electra and media man Conor O’Brean, along with a new lineup of colourful figures.

We Have Lost the Plot carries on in a familiar vein as the previous books in the series with a glut of 007 references and in-jokes, classic British self-deprecating humour and plenty of jokes at the expense of the movie business. Britt works with her usual dogged attitude to uncover a plot that could very well derail the very first Film Awards of Britain, while Howie works with his usual displeasure and desire to make it to his next meal to try and locate a potentially explosive film script penned by the less-than-diplomatic President Winner.

I have had the pleasure of reading all of the books in Paul Mathews’ “We Have Lost” series. This latest instalment does not disappoint. The characters are true to form, the story is littered with characteristic humour and is brilliantly written. Five books in and the series is as entertaining as it was from the outset!

My rating:
goodread

We Have Lost the Chihuahuas by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost the Chihuahuas by Paul Mathews

London, 2046. The British Republic has a new First Lady. She’s Californian, ‘in-your-face, for sure’ and she’s got big plans for a Buckingham Palace refurb. When her three Chihuahuas go missing, one man is determined to avoid getting dragged into it all. His name is Pond. Howie Pond – presidential spokesperson, retired secret agent and cat lover.

Meanwhile, Howie’s wife Britt is handed her first assignment as a National Security and Intelligence Service rookie – to solve the mystery of the missing canine trio.

Will Howie manage to slope off to the pub before he can be roped into help? Will Britt unmask the dog-napper and grab the glory? Find out, in the latest, crazy comedy-thriller from dog-loving British author Paul Mathews.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Paul Mathews returns with the fourth book in his We Have Lost series, We’ve already been taken on the search for a missing President, missing pelicans and most worrying of all – missing coffee. Now our hapless hero and presidential media guru Howie Pond finds himself once again sucked into the hunt, this time for a trio of missing chihuahuas. But these aren’t just any dogs, these dogs belong to the First Lady herself.
WHLTChihuahuas_cover_small (2)Howie Pond returns in another comedy mystery, no longer working on his secondment for the National Security and Intelligence Service, hoping his days will now be somewhat less intense and perhaps featuring a few more donuts to boot. Sadly, things don’t go to plan. With a battle for government budget between the police force headed by his best friend Freddie English and the NSIS who his wife Britt works for, Howie cannot avoid this mystery.

Lured by the promise of a top-notch five-course dinner by Freddie, Howie simply cannot refuse his best friend. Once again Howie Pond finds himself having to flex his investigative muscles to hunt down the missing dogs and claim his delicious dinner in a race against time, and his secret agent wife.

Once again, Mathews has created a wonderfully funny mystery novel bringing back characters we have grown to love throughout this series including Howie, Freddie and Britt, along with head of the NSIS Martha. A supporting cast of possible suspects and villainous characters help bring the story to life. A series of recurring gags and references help tie the book back to the rest of the series, while new characters in minor roles add new entertainment to the story. We Have Lost the Chihuahuas brings all of the mystery and laughs of the first three books while managing to remain fresh, new and entertaining.

My rating:
goodread

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews

London, 2045. Three months into the Coffee Wars and Britain’s caffeine supplies are at critical levels. Brits are drinking even more tea than usual, keeping a stiff upper lip and praying for an end to it all. A secret Government coffee stockpile could save the day…but then mysteriously disappears overnight.

One man is asked to unravel the missing-coffee mystery. His name is Pond. Howie Pond. And he’s in desperate need of a triple espresso. Meanwhile, his journalist wife, Britt, is hunting royal fugitive Emma Windsor on the streets of the capital.

Can Howie save the British Republic from caffeine-starved chaos? Will the runaway royal be found? And just what will desperate coffee drinkers do for their next caffeine fix? Find out, in Paul Mathews’ latest comedy-thriller set in the Britain of the future…

‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ is packed with dry British humour, political satire, dozens of comedy characters and enough coffee jokes to keep you awake all night. It’s full of crazy action and adventure in London, and beyond, and is guaranteed to set your pulse racing faster than a quadruple espresso.

So, join Howie, Britt and friends – as well as some enemies – as you travel forward in time to 2040s London.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Today is my stop on the blog tour for We Have Lost The Coffee. And better still, today is also release day! We Have Lost The Coffee is the third outing in the series for Paul Mathews’ hapless hero Howie Pond. Once again our 007-dreaming secret agent finds himself stuck in the middle of a new Code Red Crisis.We Have Lost the Coffee CoverBut worse than missing Presidents, lost pelicans and royals attempting a coup – the coffee is running out. To pay for his ridiculous campaign promises, President Zayn Winner needed a way to raise some quick cash. In all of his infinite wisdom, he decide to levy a tax on all countries exporting coffee to the British Republic.

This in turn led to a crisis. Brazil and the other coffee-growing nations placed embargoes on Britain, leading to caffeine shortages. A personal nightmare for me. A secret government stockpile of coffee from around the world in Romford has disappeared. Howie and Martha need to track them down urgently while the president is away in Las Vegas at a presidential summit.

Meanwhile, newly-married Britt finds herself disillusioned with constant reporting on the so called Coffee Wars and looking for the next big scoop to really catapult her career. With two out of three of the royal triplets who attempted to overthrow the government behind bars, Britt set out to catch the third running royal.

With a lack of caffeine the general state of society descends into deception and treachery to get their hands on some coffee anyway they can. And with just two days left on his 12 month contract as a secret agent, Howie needs this one solved sooner than soon.

The investigation uncovers political corruption, greed and stupidity all the way through. Blackmail and bribery become the order of the day in a desperate attempt to locate the coffee before the world gets wind of the situation. Britt meanwhile finds herself once again in a dangerous situation as she travels around the London area desperate to find the runaway royal.

As the coffee tax negotiations intensified, Howie comes up with a solution to the Code Red Crisis, and the entire Coffee Wars. And Britt has some tough career choices to make as she once again dodges the bullet at the hands of a deranged royal triplet.

Once again Paul Mathews has put together a fantastically entertaining book, and a wonderful return of Howie, Britt and Martha. As we speak he has started work on book four of the series, We Have Lost The Chihuahuas, which I for one cannot wait to read!

My rating:
goodread