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Ripley, Mike 1952–

Ripley, Mike 1952–

(Michael David Ripley, Duncan Torrens)

PERSONAL: Born September 29, 1952, in Hudders-field, Yorkshire, England; son of Ronald and Ada Sylvia Ripley; married Alyson Jane White; children: Elizabeth Kate. Education: University of East Anglia, B.A. (with honors), 1974. Politics: Conservative. Religion: "None."

ADDRESSES: Office—David Higham Associates, 5-8 Lower John St., London W1R 4HA, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, The Do-Not Press Ltd, 16 The Woodlands, London SE13 6TY, England.

CAREER: Writer and public relations executive. University of Essex, Essex, England, public relations officer, 1975–78; Brewers' Society, London, England, senior public relations officer, 1978–; crime book critic for the Daily Telegraph and Publishing News.

MEMBER: Crime Writers Association, Dorothy L. Sayers Society, British Guild of Beer Writers, Mystery Writers of America.

AWARDS, HONORS: Last Laugh Award for most humorous crime novel from Crime Writers Association, 1989, for Angel Touch, and 1991, for Angels in Arms.

WRITINGS:

"FITZROY MCLEAN ANGEL MYSTERY" SERIES

Just Another Angel, Collins (London, England), 1988.

Angel Touch, Collins (London, England), 1989.

Angel Hunt, Collins (London, England), 1990.

Angel Eyes, Collins (London, England), 1990.

Angel City, Collins (London, England), 1991, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1995.

Angels in Arms, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1992.

Angel Confidential, Collins (London, England), 1995.

Family of Angels, Collins (London, England), 1996.

That Angel Look, Dufour (Chester Springs, PA), 1997.

Bootlegged Angel, Constable (London, England), 1999.

Lights, Camera, Angel, Constable (London, England), 2001.

Angel Underground, Constable (London, England), 2002.

Angels on the Inside, Constable (London, England), 2003.

Boudica and the Lost Roman, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.

EDITOR WITH MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI

Fresh Blood, Bloodlines (London, England), 1996.

Fresh Blood 2, Dufour (Chester Springs, PA), 1997.

Freshblood 3, Bloodlines (London, England), 1999.

OTHER

Double Take: The Novel and the Script, Dufour (Chester Springs, PA), 2002.

Also author of scripts for Lovejoy television series. Brewing correspondent for Encyclopaedia Britannica; author of "Crimebeat" column for Sunday Telegraph, 1989–. Contributor of short stories to periodicals under name Mike Ripley, including the Bookseller, and of articles to periodicals under pseudonym Duncan Torrens.

SIDELIGHTS: Mike Ripley's mystery adventures about London taxicab driver Fitzroy McLean Angel are witty, fast-paced romps set in London's underworld. Winner of two Last Laugh Awards from the Crime Writers Association, Ripley often combines humor with his mysteries.

Typical of the Angel series is Angel City, in which a homeless man hires Angel to help deliver mysterious packages at night. When his employer vanishes, Angel "wanders deep into the cold world of the city's homeless, talking to lost souls and encountering an occasional angel of mercy" in his search for the missing man, as the Publishers Weekly reviewer noted. In That Angel Look the London cabbie finds himself involved with fashion designers and a dead photographer. David Pitt, writing in Booklist, called the novel "a rousing success," while the critic for Publishers Weekly noted that, "with Angel as a guide, lowlife London has never been a more seductive proposition."

Despite the success of his Angel books, Ripley has also written a stand-alone novel and an accompanying movie script in Double Take: The Novel and the Script. The plot revolves around a hijacking of a new miracle cancer drug at Heathrow Airport in England. Working at the airport on security is disgraced former Chief Inspector Frank McEnvoy. The new chief inspector, Jim Driver, gets a tip that the heist is about to take place as various members of the criminal element vie with each other, the police, and ultimately McEnvoy to take possession of the drug. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the story an "amusing tale." Rex Klett, writing in the Library Journal, noted the story's "quirky characters, off-the-wall tone, and unpredictable plot." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the novel has "plenty of fast-paced thrills."

Ripley has also co-edited, with Maxim Jakubowski, volumes of crime fiction by young writers. Fresh Blood and Fresh Blood 2 present stories by up and coming writers whose work is on the edge. Marilyn Stasio, writing in the New York Times Book Review, called Fresh Blood "a terrific introduction to these articulate and unpredictable voices." A Publishers Weekly contributor found that Fresh Blood 2 "offers reason to imagine that some of the talent on display will soon crack crime fiction's top rank."

Ripley told CA: "I have always written for newspapers for a living, beginning at age fifteen, but I only began to write fiction in 1984. My first comedy crime novel—Just Another Angel—was written for therapy, after three years of work on a serious, but still unpublished, thriller. The novel was accepted by my first choice publisher within ten days. It seems that being funny pays.

"Angel is not a detective, indeed he's not much of a hero at all. He is youngish, streetwise, self-contained. He has not dropped out of the rat race: he never joined it. The books are not whodunits but 'how-does-he-get-out-of-this?' adventures. Angel looks on England (and especially London) in the late-1980s as a contemporary, but an outsider by choice. Each book involves him in a different world: in Just Another Angel, small-time gangsters; Angel Touch, the financial wheeler-dealing world; Angel Hunt, the world of animal-rights campaigners." The author continued, "If a friend is in trouble, Angel will go to the wall for them—or find someone else to."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1998, review of That Angel Look, p. 1206.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Double Take: The Novel and the Script, pp. 997-998.

Library Journal, September 1, 2002, Rex Klett, review of Double Take, p. 218.

New York Times Book Review, March 30, 1997, Marilyn Stasio, review of Fresh Blood, p. 23.

Publishers Weekly, December 12, 1994, review of Angel City, p. 53; February 2, 1998, review of That Angel Look, p. 84; February 16, 1998, review of Fresh Blood 2, p. 207; August 26, 2002, review of Double Take, p. 48.

ONLINE

Fantastic Fiction, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (January 12, 2006), brief profile of author and listing of works.

Shots, http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (February 12, 2006), Steen Freeborn, review of Double Take.

Thrilling Detective, http://www.thrillingdetective.com/ (January 12, 2006), "Fitzroy McLean Angel: Created by Mike Ripley."

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