Friday, 8 April 2011

Happy Trails : A Cowboy from the Midlands

It`s a funny old world.

Only a short time ago, I penned a short article for this blog (The Cowboy and the Detective, 14 January 2011) based in part on information supplied to me by writer Chap O`Keefe (Keith Chapman), who in days gone by  had worked on the staff of the Sexton Blake Library and eventually became editor of the Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine.

Mr O`Keefe/Chapman now writes titles for Hale`s  Black Horse Westerns series and runs the Black Horse Extra website.

Here we are less than three months later and we have just added to our stock three signed books by another Black Horse writer, B J Holmes (aka Ethan Wall aka Charles Langley Hayes).

Mr Holmes/Wall/Hayes is an interesting character.

The son of a  Midlands factory worker he initially followed in his father`s footsteps, but then decided to first return to education and from there went into teaching.

His earliest attempt at writing, never completed, was a short piece from the 1950s describing  a young working class man from the Midlands getting dressed in his teddy-boy gear prior to going out for a night on the town. Of course, it was a description of Holnes himself, seen through the eyes of an outsider. Youthful self-doubt seems to have kicked in ( "Who`d want to know about a working class teenager in the English Midlands of the 1950s ?" he apparently asked himself ) and his writing ambitions lay dormant for twenty years.

At some point in the `70s he tried his hand at writing a text-book - apparently with little success - and decided to try writing a western, a genre he was completely unfamiliar with, more or less on a whim. Cutting a long story short (so to speak), he has now written over 30 Black Horse Westerns and a number of short stories in various genres (crime, horror, science fiction). Interestingly, one of his books (North of the Bravo) began life as an unpublished work of historical fiction and was only later adapted to a western setting. Among his other talents he has had some success writing guides to solving crosswords.

Anyway, that`s enough of that.  The background info on My Holmes here comes from  , which is co-owened by another Black Horse writer, Adam Wright. Also useful is .

To visit our store, use the Buy Books links provided. In the meantime, here are samples of his signatures, in case they are of interest.

Arundel Books of Nottinghamshire

I never hesitate to use this blog to plug a few books from our own stock, so I suppose it`s only fair if I give someone else a plug now and then.

Following on from the local success of his books Narrow Marsh and The Chilwell Ghost, local man A R Dance has produced another book, Leen Times. The sequel to Narrow Marsh, Leen Times is set in Nottingham during the period 1820 -  1830,  described as "an era of brutal and uncompromising change, and of fierce political upheaval". The author promises a "fast-moving story of retribution, radical politics and criminal conspiracies".

You will find my verdict on it`s predecessor among the book reviews on this blog.

For more info on Mr Dance`s works,  visit .

Save Bentham Library - Walk from Bentham to Settle - 7 May 2011