Classic Comfort Reads… with Malcolm Hollingdrake

The idea behind the Classic Comfort posts is that each featured writer chooses a favourite title from the classics – we’ll define ‘classic’ as pre-1940 – and a favourite comfort read, a book they always return to, for whatever reasons. As third book in each post, we’ll have one by the writer, usually their latest book. This week, we have crime writer Malcolm Hollingdrake, author of the popular Harrogate Crime series. The second book in his new Merseyside Crime Series was published earlier this month. Over to Malcolm:


I cannot remember when I was introduced to the work of H H Munro, possibly just after leaving college. I love short stories and this collection is inspiring if of its time. I love the vocabulary used and the brevity of the tales. A favourite from book 1 is Sredni Vashtar and the opening line – “Conandrin was ten years old, and the doctor had pronounced his professional opinion that the boy would not live another five years.” Want to read more? I certainly did.

Munro’s rich use of words fascinates me. When describing an old tool-shed the boy has Munro describes how he used it– “He had peopled it with a legion of familiar phantoms evoked partly from fragments of history and partly from his own brain, but it also boasted two inmates of flesh and blood.” Wonderful.

Munro was born in 1870 and died in 1916. Shot in the head by a sniper.


I love the works of David Hockney so when this book was published it was purchased immediately. Hockney, a Bradford boy like myself, is a driven man. Each day is filled with observation and creativity. He’s a man who has taken to technology and embraced a world of artistic possibilities.

The book describes his year through lockdown in France taking the form of an interview. It gives a clear insight into the thoughts of a man in his eighties who has much to do whilst being fully aware that the sand is running ever more quickly through the hour glass. Well illustrated and very enlightening.

Both Catch as Catch Can and Syn, the first books in Malcolm’s Merseyside Crime Series, were published this spring. I’ve read Catch as Catch Can – it’s fabulous – and Syn is waiting on my kindle. Here’s the blurb for Catch as Catch Can to tempt you into the series:

A mutilated body apparently washed up on a windswept beach…
A violent criminal gang preys on moped riders across the area…
A teenage girl desperate to escape sexual exploitation…

It’s a tough introduction to Merseyside for DI April Decent, who has just arrived from her native Yorkshire. Together with new colleague Skeeter Warlock, Decent quickly discovers there’s a sinister link between them all, one that will bring them face-to-face with some uncomfortable truths.

Thank you, Malcolm – I’m looking forward to getting stuck into Syn!

You could say that the writing was clearly on the wall for someone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author, but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.

Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember. 
He has written a number of successful short stories, has thirteen books now available and is presently writing the eleventh crime novel set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. 

Born in Bradford and spending three years at Ripon College, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all the Harrogate novels. However, as well as the Harrogate Crime Series he has written a new series set in Merseyside published by Hobeck Books.

You can find out more about Malcolm and his books on his website, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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2 Responses to Classic Comfort Reads… with Malcolm Hollingdrake

  1. That quote from Munro describing the old tool shed was just divine – deliciously spooky!

    Liked by 2 people

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