Monday, 13 April 2020

An Interview with Brian E. Guyll

In the lead-up to the launch of The Black Beacon Book of Mystery in June, we’ve asked our contributors to answer a few questions so you can get to know them better. Let’s unravel the mystery behind the stories together.  

What’s the story behind The Windless Halt Affair?

The inspiration behind my Windless Halt story was the place itself. My wife and I came upon it during a driving tour of the remote Northern Pennines in County Durham. Following a curving descent from the stark moors into a lush green valley with a winding stream we almost missed the old farmhouse buildings nestling among the trees. I stopped to ask a lady hanging her washing out the name of the place. 'There is no name, only a postal code,' she replied. Looking at its sheltered position and knowing that a lot of these old places were stagecoach horse changing posts in the old days, I decided to call it Windless Halt. The darker side of my mind envisaged it as a perfect place for a homegrown crime. Obviously, the detection part is heavily influenced by Conan Doyle – after all, who doesn't want a bash at writing a Sherlock Holmes story?

Have you made any literary pilgrimages?

I started my working career in the coal mines of North East England. While serving an apprenticeship and working for several years underground, I met many characters who could only be described as Dickensian. A few years ago I started writing a few memories down and found myself wanting to see the old haunts and maybe even meet some old acquaintances. Hence, once a year I drag my long-suffering wife around old mining villages and even mine workings. Obviously, the planned trip for this year has had to be postponed. I wondered how to write about such characters and bring them to life. Ultimately, I decided to fit them into a series of detective stories some of which are based on events in the lives of these colourful people.

What are your key ingredients for a ripping mystery?

I like a story with a reasonably fast pace, flowing natural dialogue, some dark humour, a twist or two and not always the inevitable ending where the good guy wins.

What’s a real mystery you’d like to solve?

The Dark Energy and Dark Matter phenomena intrigue me. Will the discovery of what they are unlock the key to the start and end of our universe? Sounds like a story!

Do you have a favourite fictional sleuth?

Ian Rankin’s John Rebus – a hard-bitten Scottish detective.
(Editor’s note: Great choice! For those who don’t know Rebus, click here

What are you writing now?

Apart from the above-mentioned unpublished detective novels, I write short whimsical stories for a local online magazine called Thanet Writers. Below is a link to the stories they have published thus far. I have just completed a short story for the BBC which I have just learned will be read out on local radio.

How can readers contact you?

Sorry to say I haven’t done anything with my blog for donkey’s years. There’s a contact page on or just simply email me at

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