Cooking with Nathan

Nathan likes to cook – unless, of course, the alternative is a night in with a pizza, cheap red wine, and Pink Floyd on the stereo. It’s an attitude that I can understand, but I do appreciate that the pizza is not a food group.

I went to the fish stall on the Cannaregio canal this morning and picked up two splendid tuna steaks. Caroline had a salad Nicoise in mind. Now, as much as I appreciate a decent Nicoise, a good one can take a bit of preparation and so I need some protein at the end of it as a reward. So my version goes a little bit off-piste.

The basic recipe comes from the redoubtable Felicity Cloake :-

Felicity Cloake’s Salade Nicoise

– and the addition is, simply, some fresh tuna. I know some people might be horrified at this but, dammit, after an evening in the kitchen I need something more than just a salad. I think the trick is not to flake it and toss it in with the salad, neither is it to put a great thick slab of tuna steak on top of the salad (which will just steam it and make it unpleasantly soggy).


  1. Choose your music. I went with early to mid-period Beatles here, but – if you prefer –  Pink Floyd will work equally well.
  2. Follow Felicity’s recipe above, and assemble the salad on the plate (I put the eggs directly into boiling water and cook for seven minutes, which gives a nice sticky yolk. I also like to layer the anchovies over the eggs, just to look a little bit more cheffy).
  3. When you’re done, take your tuna steaks. Pat them dry, and just wipe them over with a little olive oil. Give them a good grinding of salt and pepper.
  4. Stick a decent, heavy pan on a medium-high heat. You don’t want it to be smoking away at a terrifying temperature, but just enough for your steaks to sizzle. Then just sear each edge of the steaks, no more than ten seconds a side.
  5. My steaks were just under an inch thick and so ninety seconds a side is fine. Then slice them into strips about the width of your little finger and add them to the plate.

With a bit of luck it will all look something like this. If it doesn’t, well, I’m sure it will still be nice. And if it isn’t, do what Nathan would do and head out for a pizza…


Il Ponte dei Delitti

Here’s a look at the cover of the Italian edition of “The Venetian Game” which, I’m hoping, will be out in September.

The publisher, Newton Compton, always seem to have very striking covers and I’m extremely pleased with this. Now, some of you may have noticed that the Ponte dei Sospiri (a location which, shall we say, is not prominent in the book) takes pride of place on the cover. No, I don’t know why either! No matter, I still think it’s a lovely piece of work.



Radio Wales

My interview with Phil Rickman can be found here (for the next 28 days)…my bit is about ten minutes before the end.

Radio Wales interview

There’s also been a nice review on The Crime Warp (good title!) website at :-

The Crime Warp

I’m off on holidays for a couple of weeks, although I don’t think I’ll be leaving Nathan completely behind. I don’t think I’ll do any actual writing (Caroline really will stop me!) but I think there’ll be plenty of frenzied scribbling for book 3…

Phil the Shelf

Some of you may know Phil Rickman as the author of a series of novels about Elizabeth I’s court magician Dr John Dee. You might also know him as author of the successful “Merrily Watkins” series (recently dramatised on ITV). Merrily is a Church of England vicar in the border country between England and Wales. She is also a “Deliverance Minister”. Or, as we used to say, an exorcist. Oh yes, they still exist, and every diocese has one.

Now, as an idea, Merrily is such a brilliant one as to turn one mad with rage and jealousy. Fortunately Phil is a very nice bloke, and I was very pleased to be asked to appear on his “Phil the Shelf” programme on Radio Wales. We had a good old natter about “The Venetian Game” for about 25 minutes, and Phil asked some very perceptive questions. : for example,  yes, Arcangelo is, basically, Count Dracula…I wrote all his dialogue with Christopher Lee’s voice in my head. I’m fifty years old and I can write my own Hammer film if I want to!

I also spent part of the interview beneath a towel. No, really. Apparently it helps with the acoustics if you’re speaking from a place with hard surfaces. I started to asphyxiate after five minutes and threw the damn thing off. If you notice a sudden difference when you listen, do let me know…

The interview, I believe, is on BBC Radio Wales at 13.30 this Saturday, repeated on Sunday at 18.00. It’ll then be available on iPlayer for a month. At any rate, I’ll post a link when I have one.

Nathan Returns…

Nathan Sutherland returns next year, on April 5th 2018, in “Vengeance in Venice.” Here’s a first look at the cover. I really think Constable have done a fantastic job on this.

Elsewhere, I’m hoping it won’t be too long before we see an Italian edition of “The Venetian Game.” “Il Ponte dei Delitti” (as they’ve retitled it – you could translate it as “The Bridge of Crimes”, or “The Bridge of Murders”) is now starting to appear on various Italian book-related sites. have the release date as the 1st January 2030, but I’m rather hoping that’s just a typo!

“Wanderlust” magazine wanted a short piece from me on the theme of ‘Five Hidden Gems in Venice.’ I actually found this a bit difficult. What is there to add to a city so well documented? And I wondered if some of my original ideas – such as Carlo Scarpa’s Olivetti showroom in Piazza San Marco –  might be a little too obscure. In the end, I chose five islands that are all worth a visit.

Outlying Islands

I was very pleased to see a review in Friday’s Daily Mail.

Daily Mail review

I wonder what Nathan’s communist friends would have made of it??


Talk Radio Europe telephoned me for an interview on Monday. The timing might not have been perfect – I was making my way from teaching Shouty Class 2A in Venice to Delightful Class 1E in Mestre, and on the bus – but the day job still needs to be held down. And at least my ears had stopped ringing following 60 minutes with Shouty Class 2A…

So I had a friendly chat with Hannah Murray for about ten minutes regarding the background to the book, life in Venice etc. A bit strange for me, as this is all still a bit of a novelty, but it was good fun. The interview will be broadcast at some point in the future, I’ll let you know when I hear.

Twenty minutes later, I was back in front of Delightful Class 1E. Some things change, and some things stay the same…

Launch Parties

I was delighted (and more than a bit surprised) to be invited to the launch of LS Hilton’s Domina on the terrace of the Bauer Palazzo. Lovely evening, looking out towards the church of the Salute. I was rather wondering exactly what I’d done to warrant an invite when LS herself came over and told me she’d bought a copy of The Venetian Game in Waterstones in Picadilly a few weeks back, and stuck me me on the guest list as a result. At this point, despite my best efforts to look cool, I think I might have choked on my prosecco!

My own launch was at Laguna Libre in Cannaregio. Lovely to see so many friends there, and we managed to sell out of books as well. Here are some photos.

A few more reviews have come in – an excellent one from Saga magazine, and I was also delighted to get a very positive mention in the Literary Review.

And as for Book 2…well the manuscript was delivered to my publisher this morning. Which means that, for a few weeks at least, I can relax…


I was delighted to see copies of “The Venetian Game” on the shelves at Libreria Studium, Calle Lunga San Marco.


This is the first time I’ve seen it on the shelves of a bookshop in Italy. I tried to be suitably dignified and restrained about the whole thing, and was as discreet as possible when I took a photograph. I hope the other customers and the proprietor understood.

Elsewhere, I’ve had a lovely review from the good folk at TripFiction.

Thriller set in Venice (secrets, shadows – and death…)

And I was ridiculously proud of having been mentioned in the Morning Star. Nathan and his friends in the Communist Bar would, I am sure, most definitely approve.,-and-other-murderous-outcomes#.WOFarJB9601