This week Marble Hill publishers have published my first attempt at writing fiction – a story of murder and detection inspired by an experience that I had as a Publisher many years ago in Nigeria. The book has taken three years to right hand has been written three times in the process, but now we merges in book form at last! Here is what my patient and understanding publisher has written about it:

About the Book: No Telephone THeaven by David Worlock  

One of the pleasures of being a publisher is that you never know what your authors will do next. I was both surprised – and not surprised – when David Worlock told me he had written a detective story. I had loved his touching, amusing and truthful account of his troubled relationship with his father, so well described in Facing Up To Father. A murder mystery set in Nigeria in 1977 seemed a long way (in every sense) from the Cotswolds in the 50s and 60s. As I read the manuscript and was immersed in this extraordinary and haunting story, I had endless questions. Was the story based on fact? How did David know so much about Nigeria? And of course – who did it?  

So I asked him to tell me how he came to write the book.

“The young man’s death has puzzled me for almost 50 years. He was a young accountant in a Nigerian publishing company. I was a visiting English publishing Director from the group that owned his company. The slaying was brutal, unprovoked, and had no logical explanation. The police were indifferent: unexplained murder was commonplace. His colleagues were saddened and grief stricken, but then had to gather themselves for daily survival in a world where sudden death was not unfamiliar.

I loved the country and I loved the people, then as now. So much was going on in that year – Africa’s greatest arts and culture festival ever; free education, for the first time for all Nigerian children, and the emergence of a nation from the shadows of a terrible Civil War, which had killed 3 million people. I cannot forget the excitement of those times, yet the unexplained death of a young man continued to rankle over the years. Finally, I concluded that if no story existed, which would explain what had happened then perhaps I had to create one.

A common slogan on the back of Lagos buses in 1977 was the claim “God’s judgement – no appeal“ . Below these words, on the bumper bar, appeared the statement “ no telephone to heaven.“ I acknowledge that I cannot make a call to find out what happened to the young accountant, but given that robbery, international espionage, communal violence, gun, running, and antiquities smuggling are all part of the story that I have emerged with, there seem to be plenty of answers here on Earth.”

At the heart of his passion for a country he knew well lies a mystery – why was Marcus Diello, an innocent young man, so brutally murdered?  The mystery persists to this day. This is David Worlock’s answer – is it purely fiction? Or is it based on fact?

Like all good mysteries, readers will have to make up their own minds.

Francis Bennett


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