The Madness of July launch with author James Naughtie
From a background of BBC Radio 4, presenting the Today programme since 1994, comes the latest author of the crime/thriller genre James Naughtie.
Launching his first book, The Madness of July, in the prestigious surrounds of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in West London, one might be forgiven for thinking Naughtie had done this before. Among friends and familiar faces – many with prominent political “status” – James (or Jim as he likes to be known) met and greeted his way around the crowded room.
The Madness of July, set on several scorching days in July during the mid-1970s, follows protagonist Will Flemyng as he struggles with the compelling urge to investigate a mysterious death. The difference between Naughtie’s thriller and the many others books available, is its political aspect. Flemyng is in fact a rising foreign minister, and the suspect dead body is found in the Houses of Parliament.
Naughtie has drawn on his own years of political reporting to bring thrill-seeking book lovers a realistic and worthy read.
Certainly publishers Head of Zeus have extreme confidence in Naughtie’s writing abilities as it was revealed he has signed for two further novels – something which the publishing partners are absolutely “thrilled” about.
Naughtie confirmed that none of the book’s characters were based on anyone he knows; he suggested “bits” may have been used, but no one will be recognisable among The Madness of July’s pages.
Naughtie also spent considerable time thanking his wife Eleanor, an author in her own right with apparently considerably more succinctness – or as Naughtie describes it, “without some of the fandango that I have to go through to get there [when putting words to paper]”.
When asked why he had chosen to write a thriller, Naughtie told The Upcoming that he wanted to write a book that he would enjoy as a reader; and a pacey, intelligent, can’t-put-me-down whodunit is always a real page-turner.
If the guest list at the launch (which included George Osborne, Man Booker-prize winner Howard Jacobson and John Sergeant) reflects the success Naughtie will have with The Madness of July, then it is safe to predict big things for the Today presenter who won’t have been in any hurry to get up and broadcast this morning.
Photos: Helle Gylling
The Madness of July is released on 27th February, published by Head of Zeus at the hardback price of £12.99. For further information visit here.