Attic Whispers and Crime of the Month [May 2019 Edition]


Greetings from my attic in the Blue Mountains!

This year we had without doubt one of the most spectacular autumns up here in the Blue Mountains I can remember. The weather was perfect, with long, sunny and exceptionally mild days which made it possible to spend a lot of time outdoors in the garden, enjoying the spectacular colours. Here, let me show you:



One of the highlights this month was definitely reaching #1 in the Amazon Best Sellers rankings in Mystery Anthologies in Australia. The Jack Rogan Mysteries Series: Books 1-4 reached #1 based on sales. Needless to say, this would not have been possible without your wonderful support. So, a big thank you to you all!



Because none of this would have been possible without you, my dedicated and loyal readers, I have decided to introduce another segment into our newsletter, and it’s ALL ABOUT YOU! You would like to know what it is; right? Well, it’s called READER of the MONTH, and this is how it will work:

Every day, I get lots of emails from readers from all over the world, and I do my best to answer them all. However, from time to time, a reader stands out in some way and I have often thought how I  could share this with you? After some deliberation in the garden watched over by some curious parrots, I think I’ve found a way!

Introducing: Reader of the Month



Each month I will feature one of my readers who for some reason or other stood out and had something special to say, or contribute, I think you would find interesting or inspiring. So, here’s the first one. Her name is Maureen, and this is what she had to say:

“Here is a copy of the review I did, sorry I took so long but I have good and bad days and sometimes have a hard time seeing.  
I so love your books and as I can afford them will get as many as I can.  
Thank you for helping me to escape pain and enjoy.  



Well, my friends, this about says it all. Connecting with readers like Maureen makes it all worthwhile!

Thank you for your kind words, Maureen, and thank you for sharing something so personal with us. Reading is something wonderful we all enjoy. However, it means different things to different people, and to find that something I have written can help you escape pain and give you enjoyment, simply means the world to me!

As a small gesture of appreciation, each Reader of the Month will receive a signed copy of my latest book. Maureen’s is already on its way …

My friends, as you know, I greatly value your opinion. I would therefore be grateful if you could let me know how this new  Reader of the Month segment resonates with you. This will help me shape the content of our newsletter going forward, and ensure that it is as entertaining and informative as possible. After all, the last thing I want to do is to send you something you find tedious or, God forbid, boring!



Another author who has had a great influence on my writing over the years is the greatest and perhaps the most prolific murder mystery, thriller, and crime fiction writer of them all.

Introducing, the one and only, AGATHA CHRISTIE! (1890 – 1976)



As there is so much material of great interest to cover here, I have decided to present this wonderful author in two parts. This is Part I. The second part will follow next month.

I dare say, there wouldn’t be a thriller or mystery reader out there who hasn’t read several of Agatha Christie’s books and seen films like, Death on the Nile, or Murder on the Orient Express. Who hasn’t enjoyed the wonderful characters like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, or seen her stage play, The Mousetrap, which opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End in 1952, and is still running after more than 27,000 performances? Now, that’s what I call a record!

Speaking of records, Agatha Christie holds some of the most impressive in the literary world. According to Guinness World Records, she is the best-selling novelist of all times with approximately a staggering 3 billion copies sold! In the list of the world’s most widely published books, her works come third. Just behind Shakespeare and the Bible! She remains the most-translated author in the world, with her works having been translated into 103 languages. Her novel, And Then There Were None, is one of the best-selling books of all time with over 100 million copies sold to date. 600 members of The Crime Writers’ Association voted The Murder of Roger Ackroyd the best crime novel ever in 2013.
The records and awards go on and on, and in 1971 she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) for her wonderful contribution to literature.

Of course all of this is hugely impressive, but for me, her greatest accomplishment is the enormous enjoyment her novels have brought to millions of readers around the world for over a century now. This is what a true artist is all about. Works of genius are timeless and writers like Christie come about as close to immortality as a human being can get, because they live on in the minds of others who share the world of their imagination, every time they read something they – the writers – have created.

Agatha Christie had a long and fascinating life, but rather than delving into biographical material which is well known, I would like to explore some of her best-known, timeless characters she is so famous for.

Writing a successful thriller is all about characters. For me, characters are the lifeblood of a mystery thriller who bring the storyline to life and engage the reader, and no other character has done that better than the delightful Hercule Poirot.

As happens so often, some of the most successful characters are anchored in real life, and this is certainly the case with Poirot. Christie was inspired by real Belgian refugees and injured Belgian soldiers she treated as a volunteer nurse in Torquay during the First World War.



The eccentric, former Belgian police officer with his trademark, twirly moustache and egg-shaped head made his debut appearance in Christie’s first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which she began to write in 1916. Even someone with Christie’s exceptional talent had difficulties in getting published, and her original manuscript was rejected by several publishers.

Had that remained so, the literary world would have been deprived of one of its most popular and recognised characters, and Hercule Poirot would have disappeared and never seen the light of a literary day. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case and Christie eventually succeeded in getting her novel published, but only after she promised to change the ending, which she did.

The novel was finally published in 1920, four years after she had begun writing it, and the immortal Hercule Poirot entered the literary world as one of its best-loved characters in such wonderful classics as  Death on the Nile, and Murder on the Orient Express.

Like Christie, I am fascinated by archaeology and Egyptology and have visited  Egypt and travelled down the Nile. My first Jack Rogan mystery novel -The Empress Holds the Key – has close links to the land of the pharaohs and a significant part of the storyline is set in Egypt.

Istanbul is another location that fascinated Christie. She wrote Murder on the Orient Express in her room at the Pera Palace Hotel which I have visited. I have spent a lot of time in Istanbul doing research for Professor K: The Final Quest, book 4 in the Jack Rogan Mysteries Series, and book two – The Disappearance of Anna Popov  – was launched in Istanbul in 2014 in front of the Hagia Sophia.



There is so much more about Agatha Christie I would like to share with you, but this is definitely enough for now. I must leave something for Part II, which I will feature next month.​​​​​​​

It’s now time to turn to our final segment, A Page in History: Crime of the Month, which I introduced for the first time in April. Encouraged by your feedback and many comments, I am pleased to tell you that this popular segment will definitely feature in the newsletters going forward.



On this occasion, I would like to share with you an extraordinary crime story  with a difference. It’s all about a haunting murder mystery at Fagiani’s, a cocktail lounge and liquor store in downtown Napa, and an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 1989. Intrigued? I hope so!



Instead of telling you about the circumstances of this incredible crime, I will let a newspaper article by Sam Whiting tell the tale. When I first came across this article, I just couldn’t put it down. I’m sure it will affect you in the same way. The full article which reads like a mystery novel is available at this link,  and I have no doubt you will find it as fascinating as I have. Enjoy!

Finally, my friends, just a little reminder about the free Starter Library which, as to know, can be downloaded for free at this:

Please tell your friends about this and encourage them to visit the website. Don’t forget, you are my Literary Ambassadors, and nothing works better to spread the word about Jack Rogan and his adventures than a personal recommendation; YOURS!



I hope you’ve found this newsletter informative and entertaining. I would very much appreciate your feedback and comments to find out how the various segments have resonated with you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Author Gabriel Farago


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