Patrick Brigham is the author of a number of mystery books and crime thrillers that address political and Cold War issues. He brings terrorism, illegal immigration and murder together in gripping tales, built upon real world events
Often, when we listen in on discussions about great works of fiction, we hear phrases such as 'It seemed so real' or 'It was like being there'. For murder mystery novelist Patrick Brigham, it IS real, as he has lived, and continues to live, right in the middle of many of the storylines and situations he writes about in The Balkans.
As the editor in chief of the Sofia Western News, the first English news magazine in Bulgaria and as a journalist, he witnessed the political changes in this once hard-core communist country. There, he personally knew most of the political players, including the old Communist Dictator, Todor Zhivkov, and his successors, Presidents Jhelev and Stoyanov.
The natural home of political intrigue, and the remnants of Bolshevism, Bulgaria proved to be quite a challenge, and for many of its citizens the transition was also very painful. Despite this, Patrick managed to survive these political changes, and now lives in Northern European Greece, writing mystery novels and crime thrillers.
Many of his short stories lampoon the politicians and diplomats, he met during his time in Eastern Europe and proffer a humorous account of their often absurd antics. His more serious archived material, not only address’s issues concerning Cuba, India, Israel, Palestine and Afghanistan, but people as varied as ex - US President Bill Clinton and ex - President Todor Zhivkov the last of the Communist dictators.
Patrick Brigham's body of work includes:
‘The Dance of Dimitrios’ - a mystery novel that mixes some of the horrors of illegal immigration with everyday events. Detective Chief Inspector Lambert works for Europol - the European equivalent of the FBI – and is sent to Greece in order to solve a cold case. DCI Lambert has experience of people trafficking, the problems caused for governments throughout the world, Greece being the gateway into Europe, for countless Middle-Eastern migrants, political refugees and terrorists. The story involves the discovery of a woman's body found floating in the River Ardas, in Northern Greece. Believed to be of Middle-Eastern origin, she is buried in a communal grave along with other Islamic victims of drowning and promptly forgotten. When it is later revealed that she is actually an Englishwoman called Marjory Braithwaite - who has been living for some years in Greece - the British government turns to Europol for help. Realising that this probably means murder, DCI Lambert is dispatched to Greece.
In ‘Judas Goat: The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery,’ - Detective Chief Inspector Michael Lambert - working at the time for the Thames Valley Police Authority - unravels a murder case which stretches from England to Bulgaria, South Africa to Belorussia, and finally Taiwan to Peru. What at first appears to be a straightforward murder, is revealed to be part of an international manhunt, the result of a major arms deal which has gone horribly wrong. Patrick Brigham begins his story with the discovery of a small mobile phone on the narrow boat which ends with the murder of a Chinese shipping magnate in broad daylight, in the streets of London.
‘Herodotus: The Gnome of Sofia,’ - embraces disgruntled communists, cold war warriors, intrigue, deception and finally murder. Brigham introduces us to Sir Arthur Cumberpot, a man with an unspectacular diplomatic career, which is swiftly drawn to a close when he is appointed, by the FCO, as British Ambassador to Bulgaria. Due to some unforeseen mishaps his wife Annabel, is accused of being a spy and sent home to their house in Oxfordshire, while her background is checked by MI5. Lady Annabel Cumberpot is guilty of nothing, other than being the biological daughter of Jim Kilbey, Britain’s most notorious spy. It seems that a jealous god has sought to visit the sins of the father upon her, but then so has everyone else. She is the victim of serendipity, but also of cover ups, duplication of thin evidence and exaggeration. But she is also heartless, treacherous, self indulgent and without shame. In his book, Brigham lampoons the British Diplomats of the day, and introduces you to the humorous side of diplomacy.
‘Abduction: An Angel Over Rimini, - set in 2002, and little Penelope Scratchford has been abducted in Italy. The Italian State Police, having given up its investigation, believes her parents to be responsible for her disappearance and her probable murder, but cannot prove it. The British authorities believe she is still alive, as does the UK media. In order to reopen this cold case, Europol offers its assistance, and Detective Chief Inspector Michael Lambert – now retired from Thames Valley Police – is sent to Rimini as a Europol Liaison Officer, in order to assist the Italian police in re-opening their investigation. His quest takes him from Rimini to Greece and the River Evros, where illegal migrants frequently cross over from Turkey on their way into Central Europe. Following this recognised people smuggling route, his investigations also take him to Bulgaria, where he discovers a crooked adoption racket. Finding some promising leads to the whereabouts of the little English girl, he is finally able to establish if she is alive or dead.
"I live in the Evros Region in Northern Greece," Brigham stated, "and I have personally observed the forlorn illegal immigrants who then daily crossed the River Evros into Greece, from Turkey. Since many were English speaking – from Afganistan, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent – it was easy to converse with them, and of course the Greek police authorities themselves; who were well educated, and spoke perfect English. Knowing what was going on around me, was not the problem, but being able to tell the story – to a largely indifferent western public - was another matter. Ten years on and dominating the headlines, it is clearly different, but in the early 2000s, few in Europe could care less about these displaced refugees, until it began to affect their pocket.”
“During Communism, and as one of the first English journalists to be based in Bulgaria, I interacted with most of the politicians and diplomats of the day, in my capacity as chief editor of The Sofia Western News, a monthly glossy magazine. This included Todor Zhivkov, the then deposed long term Communist ex President of Bulgaria – who I interviewed on a number of occasions –his first elected democratic successor Zhelyu Zhelev, followed by President Peter Stoyanov. Although many changes have occurred since, I must also mention King Simion II, who for three years and eighteen days, served as the Bulgarian Prime Minister. In the hope that he could salvage years of Communist waste, tyranny and turmoil - since he was deposed as Bulgarian boy king, in 1946 - and by putting his reputation on the line - amongst the torment and brazen political arrogance of the time - he was one of my greatest hero’s.”
Readers have praised his novels. One stated, "I am an ex cop - he must have done a lot of research to get so many things right. I felt when reading 'Abduction' that Patrick was relating an investigation, he actually carried out." Another said, "'Abduction - An Angel Over Rimini' is entertaining, gripping, and also an astonishing Europol procedural read, making you want to read more. I was drawn into the story right away. I felt close to Michael Lambert and his way of analysing and detecting. All relevant characters became pretty real. 'Abduction - An Angel Over Rimini' is a good read for mystery fans, readers who like surprises, and occasional coincidences."
Patrick Brigham is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Books are available at Amazon, Amazon.UK, Smashwords and from his website. More information is available at Patrick Brigham's website at http://authorpatrickbrigham.com/.
About Patrick Brigham:
Patrick has been a writer and journalist for many years. He has published many short stories, newspaper and magazine articles. Born in the English Home Counties, he attended Public School and College before moving to London and embarking on his career. He has spent the last twenty five years in South Eastern Europe, where many of his stories are set, as well as in Oxford, Hampshire and Berkshire. As the Editor in Chief of the first English Language news magazine in Sofia, Bulgaria - between 1995 and 2000 - and as a journalist, he witnessed the changes in this once hard core Communist Country and personally knew most of the political players, including the old Dictator Todor Zhivkov and his successors Zhelev and Stoyanov.
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