Most writers would be proud if they created one memorable fictional character in their career. James Mitchell (1926-2002) created four. First came JOHN CRAIG, the tough, tortured secret agent who, in the early 1960s was seen as a credible successor to James Bond (following the death of Ian Fleming). Then, of course, there was the iconic DAVID CALLAN, almost an ‘anti-Bond’, a sardonic, ruthless government assassin trapped in a job he hated but was extremely good at. The television series Callan starring Edward Woodward was a massive hit (1967-71) and the character went on to feature in novels, short stories and movies. In 1976, the epic BBC series When the Boat Comes In launched the character JACK FORD, the wily political and social chancer determined to get rich in the Depression-hit north-east. And in the mid-1980s, Mitchell created TOMMASO RONALDO HOGGET, the Anglo-Italian private eye who revels in good food, fine wines and First Class travel – as long as they’re on expenses! – and whose speciality is finding people and things; sometimes when they are not actually lost and sometimes when they are dead…

In April, the Ostara Crime imprint republishes the Ron Hogget trilogy – Sometimes You Could Die, Dead Ernest and Dying Day – bring them back into print (and as eBooks) for the first time in 25 years.

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