Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 20 March 2017

Brighton Based Psychologist Turned Author Unveils His Working Class Sherlock

"1895: London Society takes its problems to Sherlock Holmes.  Everyone else goes to Arrowood."  That's the intriguing concept of the debut novel Arrowood, written by Brighton-based Anglia Ruskin University academic Dr Mick Finlay.

Mick, a Reader in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge, has drawn on his years of experience to help shape his lead character William Arrowood, "self-taught psychologist, occasional drunkard and private investigator". 
 
But he confesses that nothing had prepared him for production company Cave Bear, a division of Tiger Aspect, recently buying the rights to produce a TV series based on his crime thriller, with Kathy Burke signed on as executive producer.  In fact, he admits to still being "a little stunned" by the news.

Arrowood is a contemporary of the great Sherlock Holmes, but covers the areas of London that Sherlock, or even Watson, would rarely visit; namely the densely-populated working-class streets south of the river.  

Mick, a social psychologist who specialises in learning disabilities, verbal and non-verbal communication and intergroup conflict, explained: 

"I had the idea for writing Arrowood when I was rereading Sherlock Holmes several years ago. 

"I love Conan Doyle"s stories, but I wondered which other private detectives would be working in London at the time, and whether they would resent Holmes"s genius and fame.  

"Very quickly I had the idea for a character, William Arrowood, only just surviving on the low fees he charged working the poorer parts of London.
 
"He's a man with a huge heart and a concern for the injustices of Victorian society.  And if he was to resent the success of Sherlock Holmes, he had to have a different approach to solving crime.  

"So, while Holmes focuses on physical clues and logic, Arrowood is obsessed with people, with their emotions, their motives, their inconsistencies."

Before entering the academic world, Mick ran a market stall on Portobello Road in London, and has worked as a tent-hand in a travelling circus, a butcher"s boy, a hotel porter, and in various jobs in the NHS and social services.  

In between his lecturing work at Anglia Ruskin, Mick's currently busy writing a sequeland admits that he"s been delving into books on Victorian history, as well as psychology, to ensure the novels are as accurate as possible.
 
Mick said: "Arrowood"s fascination with the mind comes from my own work teaching and doing research in psychology departments over the last 20 years.  

"Arrowood reads books dealing with emotion and the mind that were around in 1895, and tries to apply their insights to his cases – people like William James, Charles Darwin, Gustav LeBon and William Carpenter.
 
"In writing Arrowood, I"ve also read a lot about Victorian London and was fascinated to find how much they shared similar social and political concerns to those that worry us today."

Mick is thrilled that Cave Bear – the production company behind Bad Education (BBC3), Together (BBC3) and Psychobitches (Sky Arts) – will be bringing his characters and plotsto the screen, and is particularly excited that Cannes Best Actress winner Kathy Burke will be an executive producer on the series.

"I went to meet the TV company in London with my agent and was struck almost dumb to find Kathy Burke sitting on the sofa in the meeting room having read my book," explained Mick.  

"Hearing someone you've never met tell you how much they enjoyed your story and characters feels amazing, and it makes all the years of becoming a writer worth it.
 
"Kathy's a Londoner, just like Arrowood, and she picked out all the elements that were most important to me in the book.  

"I'm sure all writers would tell you this is absolutely the best thing that can happen.  I left the meeting stunned.  Even now, a couple of months later, I'm still a little stunned."

Dr Mick Finlay's debut novel 'Arrowood' is published by HarperCollins/HQ on Thursday, 23 March 2017. CLICK HERE to purchase a copy.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    


"We're from the days when a number 14 bus and a supermarket trolley got us around." Soul II Soul mainman Jazzie B remembers the lengths he and a school friend used to go to play dances with their first sound system when they were just thirteen years old.

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of Paul Weller's first album, In The City, which he released with The Jam in May 1977.

In anticipation of International Women's Day and to mark the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act - which gave many women the vote in UK for the first time -  Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA), Brighton, will host a panel debate on women in creative leadership.  

Brighton's contemporary art gallery Fabrica has launched a crowdfunding appeal to rescue its finances in light of recent funding cuts which threaten the organisation’s future. 
Peace Pic (c) Jonnie Craig 2018

Indie rock quartet Peace have released stand-alone track, Power, a unifying anthem between the band and their fans at their notoriously raucous and tribal live shows; this is Peace 2.0; new label, new tunes and a sure fire statement of intent from the four-piece.

The Netherlands has been chosen as the lead international partner for The Great Escape who will be working alongside the Dutch Music Export to highlight the country's most prominent rising stars.

The Love Supreme Jazz Festival, the UK's only major greenfield jazz festival, today announces a host of acts confirmed to perform at this summer's event, which returns to Glynde Place in East Sussex from June 29th – July 1st 2018.

Split Britches present an up-to-the minute topical interactive show which takes unexploded ordnances as a metaphor for the unexplored potential in us all - particularly elders – and tries to uncover it. 

Albert Hammond Jr's new album Francis Trouble explores a deeply personal topic – the stillborn death of his twin brother, Francis, and the lingering effects that event has had in his life and music. 

Punk. Funk. Rock. Soul. The main ingredients in a potent witch's brew that the Bellrays have been mixing for a long time now.

Brighton Unitarian Church has been awarded a grant of £227,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore its endangered classical Greek frontage, which dates from 1820, and is one of the city centre's finest landmarks.

Star of BBC's Live At The Apollo and The Mash Report, Geoff Norcott takes to the road with his new show following a sell-out season at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London's best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as Cool For Cats, Up The Junction, Labelled With Love, Hourglass and Tempted.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd