The series features Detective Inspector William Warwick, who is a character written by author Harry Clifton in Archer’s Clifton Chronicles books
The last time we met Jeffrey Archer was when he was promoting the final book of the Clifton Chronicles, This was a Man, in November 2016. The series of seven books starts in 1920 and follows Harry Clifton through the many curveballs life throws him.
Apart from many other things, Harry is a successful author with a detective series featuring William Warwick.
During the interview, the author of bestsellers such as Kane and Abel and First Among Equals had said, “There have been queries about an Inspector Warwick series and I am thinking about it. However, I do not want to start a detective series at this stage of my life.”
And now comes Archer’s Nothing Ventured (Pan Macmillan), the first book in a series featuring William Warwick!
The Warwick series is all meta. Warwick is Harry’s creation. So is Archer writing as Harry in Nothing Ventured or as Jeffrey Archer? “That is a good question, but it is definitely ‘Jeffrey Archer’ writing,” says the 79-year-old Peer over email. “I liked the idea of picking up on Warwick, but I’m not even using the same titles as those I mention in the Clifton Chronicles.”
The book comes with a tagline, ‘This is not a detective story, this is a story about a detective.’
“I wanted to focus on the man, Warwick, not the crimes; what motivates him, what are his relationships with his family, his colleagues, and what drives him to want to rise through the ranks of the police force. Of course, he solves some crimes along the way, but just as important are the other characters, his father, Sir Julian Warwick QC, his sister Grace, a rising star in the legal world, and of course his nemesis, Miles Faulkner.”
On whether he has a finite number of books in the series, Archer says, “At the moment I envisage seven books, with him rising from Police Constable to Commissioner.”
Apart from being a breezy read, Nothing Ventured has these interesting throwaways like the police driver’s comment on Len Deighton. Archer says he agrees with the driver’s take on the Deighton’s spy novels featuring jaded intelligence officer Bernard Samson. “I read the novels many years ago, and yes, they would be great to take on holiday.”
After the Clifton Chronicles, this is the second series following a character through time — from the 1980s. On whether the research got easier or harder, Archer says, “Well, I am only on book two, so perhaps ask me on book five! It is just as much of a challenge as the Clifton Chronicles, and every bit as much fun to write.”
Nothing Ventured features Archer staples including art, auctions, courtroom drama and cricket. “I think there is a little bit of every novelist in their own books. Why wouldn’t you write about the things you know, and perhaps those things you are passionate about?”
The James Bond movie, A View to a Kill makes an appearance — the bad guy is a James Bond fan. Warwick hopes to nab him at film’s premiere. “I enjoy the Bond films, and remember picking up my first Ian Fleming novel when I was a teenager. I thought it was thrilling. My favourite Bond would be Sean Connery, though I have enjoyed the later ones with Daniel Craig. I’ll reserve judgement on who should be the next James Bond!”
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