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    

Pic by Ian Kelsey

It's not often a group of young men pool their creative resources to benefit the health and wellbeing of others. It's even rarer when those young men are musicians. But that's exactly what the Brighton-based collective, 40 Shillings On the Drum, have done with the release of their new single. The English Coast.

REM frontman Michael Stipe has reflected that the band's seminal album, Automatic For The People, concerns topics of “mortality and dying,” but he further notes, “mortality is a theme that writers have chosen to work with throughout time." 

Travis Pastrana and his Nitro Circus are already eyeing up their 2018 You Got ThisEuropean Tour – kicking off in November. And this time around, the stunts will be bigger, the ramps will be larger, and the stakes will be much, much higher.

As a member of one of the UK's leading acting dynasties, Laurence Fox is best known for playing DS James Hathaway in Lewis
Jon Ronson by Emli Bendixen

Writer, broadcaster and one-time keyboard player for Frank Sidebottom, Jon Ronson has spent a substantial chunk of the last decade thinking about psychopaths and, following an earlier tour, he's taking the results of that work back on the road this Autumn. 
Pic by Toby Smedley

Veteran Brighton-based actor Ian Kelsey will explode back on to our small screens this week, reigniting his acquaintance with Coronation Street bad boy Pat Phelan, in a storyline Kelsey refers to as ‘quite dramatic’.
Jon Richardson (c) Andy Hollingworth

The stand-up Jon Richardson is chatting from a rather unusual location. He reveals that,“I'm currently in the Aldi car park in Clevedon.” Who said that the life of a comedian isn't non-stop glamour?

Years before Justin Currie was writing top ten albums with Del Amitri, he was enjoying a musical awakening courtesy of some of the biggest bands in history. And in his typical self-depreciating style, Currie admits there were one or two less fashionable favourites along the way too.

Photoworks led Into the Outside: is a Heritage Lottery Fund learning project with young people, examining Brighton & Hove's LGBTQ+ past and creating a new archive of queer youth experience for the city and beyond.

Direct from an extended season in London's West End, Bill  Kenwright's production of Alan Ayckbourn's farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, How the Other Half Loves comes to Theatre Royal Brighton, next month.

A group of Hanover residents are making a bid to save their award-winning pub, The Greys, from closing down and are appealing to the people of Brighton & Hove to raise £400,000 by the end of December to keep the doors open.

Greg Davies has a comedic face. No disrespect, but he only has to glance at a camera and people wet themselves. He's also an imposing figure, standing at 6 ft 8 in tall in his size 13 shoes. But can he cut it live? Stephanie Keane was at The Brighton Centre to find out ..

While flowing from the same, molten core of melody, songwriting style and self-belief, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' new album, Who Built The Moon? alters the singer-songwriter’s course following a two-year creative collaboration with renowned producer, DJ & composer, David Holmes. 

Paloma Faith – one of only two British female artists this decade to have their last three albums go double platinum in the UK – will release her fourth album, The Architect, this autumn.

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