Fingers Molloy has beaten Sherlock Holmes once. Can he do it again?
Jack Hargreaves’ latest job is not quite as expected. Jack's new boss is Fingers Molloy, a time-travelling burglar with a host of ingenious devices supplied by the mysterious Mr Smith. And the things they're stealing are, frankly, odd.
Sherlock Holmes is convinced that Fingers works for his nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Yet Inspector Lestrade won’t take him seriously. How can the great detective prove he is right?
Meanwhile, Jack’s conscience is working overtime. But coming clean could reveal Jack’s own secret...
This fast-moving novella, narrated by Jack and Dr Watson, features thrills, spills, showdowns, skulduggery, and a laboratory that thinks it’s a kitchen. Open A Jar Of Thursday to find out more!
The cover to Jar of Thursday made me want to discover its contents. It would stand on a modern fantasy bookshelf but it was reminiscent of days gone by and evoked memories of sitting in my great-aunt Emily’s attic reading penny dreadfuls that had belonged to a great-great-grandmother. The contents of Jar of Thursday were more than worthy of the fabulous cover.
Although Jar of Thursday is classified as Crime and Thriller on Amazon because of a time machine it has science fantasy elements. This novella is the perfect length for the story as the pacing was wonderful. It was slow enough to feel historical but was never so slow that it felt dry or dull.
Jar of Thursday is written in multiple first which I’m delighted to see. Liz Hedgecock is a competent author and builder of character, as a result her characters can indeed carry multiple first. The point of view characters are Dr Watson and Jack.
Dr Watson’s voice captured the feel of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock was definitely Sherlock Holmes. Lestrade was Lestrade and Mrs Hudson was Mrs Hudson. In Dr Watson’s point of view the story intrigued and pulled me along.
However, it was the original characters like Jack, Constable Huggins and Mr Smith that made this Liz Hedgecock’s story and not Arthur Conan Doyle’s. I found myself looking forward to being back in Jack’s point of view. Jack is a strong female character. Whilst she had been down and out in her life I would find it difficult to believe she’d ever been a waif or a stray. She is a woman who knows how to get what she wants and needs out of life.
Liz has a wonderful balance between setting the Victorian world whilst not overdoing it. This is a story that could have been set in almost any era but Liz Hedgecock made it belong to the time she’d set in. At one point there is a sumptuous description of a beautiful dress but it’s tempered by an even better description of the realities of being dressed as a woman in Victorian England.
Another character in the story that stood out for me is the bookish but handy with a weapon, Constable Tom Huggins. If he’d been a modern character he’d have been worthy of a part in NCIS. I’d love to see more stories with the developing relationship between Jack and Tom.
Liz Hedgecock grew up in London, England, did an English degree, and then took forever to start writing. After several years working in the National Health Service, a corporate writing course rekindled the flame, and various short stories followed. Some even won prizes. Then the short stories began to grow longer...
Liz now lives in Cheshire with her husband and two sons, and when she’s not writing or child-wrangling you can usually find her reading, running, or cooing over stuff in museums and art galleries.
• Why did you choose Sherlock Holmes as your character it was big shoes to fill (you did it incredibly well by the way)?
Thank you! I’d had an idea for a novel - a Sherlock Holmes story told by Mrs Hudson - but I didn’t feel quite ready to take it on, so I decided to write some comic Sherlock short stories first to get my hand in, so to speak. These became The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes, and A Jar Of Thursday is a sequel to one of these, called ‘Sherlock Holmes And The Burglar’. I did write the novel, A House Of Mirrors, as my first NaNoWriMo book, and it’s currently on Kindle Scout here:
• Your acknowledgements talk about the research you did into Victorian Fashion. Would you like to wear Jack’s dress that you described so beautifully in Jar of Thursday?
Absolutely not. For one thing, I’m not convinced that emerald green would suit me! The real sticking-point, though, is how uncomfortable it would be. First the corset - ow! - then a bustle round the waist, then layers of petticoats, and a dress on top of it all. I read somewhere that the skirt alone could weigh six pounds. I’ll stick to my writer’s uniform of black trousers and T-shirts, thanks!
• You have captured Sherlock’s voice well. How did you go about that?
I’m a child of the 80s, so I grew up with Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, plus my local library had all the stories. I think Holmes is well and truly stuck in my subconscious!
• Question from Nick Bailey, author of Liberator: If you could be a character from your novel(s) who would it be?
Ooh, tricky. I’d probably choose Fingers Molloy, as he generally has a good time and stays out of serious trouble.
• Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated writing space? If so what is it like?
I write at the family computer, which sits in the corner of the dining room. He’s called Fry, after Stephen Fry and Fry from Futurama, and under his screen lurk pens, post-its, and random bits and bobs. Don’t look too closely or something might bite!
• What is the single most useful piece of writing advice you’ve ever had?
Just one? It’s to keep writing, keep trying. I’ve had a few wobbles about whether I should be writing (show me a writer who hasn’t), but so far something has always happened - a nice review, a publication - to show me that yes, I should.
• In the following scenarios which character would you call:
1 You want to enter a marathon and need a personal trainer to get you fit?
Ha ha, this is a bit too close to real life because I’ve run a few half-marathons but lately I’ve let the running slide! I’d choose Horace Shackleton, trainer for the 1896 Olympics in The Secret Notebook Of Sherlock Holmes - he’d brook no excuses! I’d have to send him a telegram though.
2 You’ve been challenged to a duel for the love of your life?
Well, Watson says that Sherlock Holmes is an expert swordsman. I’m not sure how good a trainer he’d be!
3 You’re in a shoe shop and can’t choose between two particularly spectacular pairs?
I’d choose the unnamed narrator of ‘A Stitch In Time’, one of the flash fiction stories in Bitesize. She runs a bridal shop, so she’d steer me towards a pair I could actually walk in - I hope.
• What are you working on next/currently?
I’m planning this year’s NaNoWriMo novel, which is going to be a modern cosy mystery - yes, no more bustles! The working title is Murder At The Playgroup.
• What is the one question you wish I’d asked?
Hmmm…maybe whether I’ve left any Easter eggs for Holmes fans. Might have, might not have *winks*
• Where can we find you online?
I’m on Twitter at
my website and blog live at
I’m also on Goodreads -
my Amazon author page is here:
• Can you leave a random question for the next author?
How do you choose which story idea to work on next?
Colonel JJ Tristan, last officer of the Liberators, is trying to keep the embers of the once great military corporation burning, but passion and the dreams of a glorious past don’t pay the bills. Everything changes when Orlanda Nixon, a former unit member, calls for his help. Finally, he has a reason to reform the Liberators, but after eight years will he be able to gather enough of them together to rescue one of their own? JJ has his doubts; just getting their old warship back into space could be a problem. The Liberators never left anyone behind, and JJ isn't about to let that happen now…
blurb for “Liberator” by Nick Bailey and Darren Bullock
This is my first review and I hope I’ve successfully walked that line between giving information and not ruining the story.
Salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips, pyjamas and an action packed Sci-Fi book makes for a great Sunday afternoon. This week that was Liberator by Nick Bailey and Darren Bullock. Although Liberator’s fetching cover has a macho man in armour with a gun on the front it is more than that. Colonel JJ Tristan has a gruff engaging personality that carries his point of view chapters well, but the first few chapters are built round two strong female characters, Orlanda Nixon and Skye Pennington. Orlanda and Skye are well drawn women with very different personalities, but abilities that make them rather special heroines.
Vivid strong descriptions take all five senses on a journey through the worlds. A crystal cup of tea which is shattered by events is a powerful image. Special types of coffee could be tasted. The descriptions of “acrid smoke” and “air that reeks of death and ozone” place the reader right in the story. A memory is cleverly evoked with a sherbet stick; it’s a memory I have from childhood and as a result as a reader I was right there with the character as they reminisced. Music forms the backdrop of more than one scene and it works incredibly well.
A vibrant world takes the reader from place to place with ships like the Iridescent Pearl, the Stromfront and the Arianne, all of which are fully developed and easily imagined from the description.
This book did what I need every good book to do, it grabbed me by the lapels and took me from a journey from the first action packed page to the last. It’s a story and characters that are well developed enough to appeal to those readers that don’t usually read sci-fi. However the ships and the world are technical and robust enough for a dedicated sci-fi fan.
Q What inspired you to write Liberator? Did plot or character come first?
A: Characters, many, many years ago now. Darren and I have been through many plots, plans and ideas, from comic writing, role playing games and just about everything else you can imagine two science fiction loving teenagers who never grew up can get through. The inspirations are too many to even list.
Q Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated writing space?
A: Sadly, I do not have a dedicated writing space, so my usual place is the dining table. Even more unfortunately, the chairs are solid wood… Darren has a desk set up in his living room, but he doesn’t have to contend with two toddlers, hell-bent on world domination. I do.
Q How did you find working in a collaboration?
A: The long answer to that can be found on Jo Zebedee’s blog – Jozebwrites.blogspot.co.uk, I did a guest post about collaboration for her. The short answer, is that it came totally natural to us as we have been close friends for thirty years or so.
Q What is the one piece of writing advice that really struck you and you use the most often?
A: The difference between a published author, and an unpublished author, is that the published author didn’t quit. So, yeah, you keep going. No matter what.
Q If you had to live in the world you have created for Liberator – would you survive?
A: Hell yes, I’d join the Liberators!
Q What are you working on next/now?
A: At the moment, too many things. Promoting Liberator is more work than I would have imagined. Nathan Hystad has asked me to submit a short story for his next sci-fi anthology, and probably most importantly – Rift, the follow up to Liberator. Full time work and four kids don’t make finding time easy though.
Q If you were in the following situations which of your characters would you call and why?
1. Stuck at the top of a roller coaster?
A: Jake Cutter, he’s a full conversion cyborg, so could climb up no problem, get me out, and climb back down with me holding on to him. He’d manage my weight easily, all I’d have to do is hold on. And if I did fall, he’s got the speed to catch me, and the strength to hold on.
2. In a bar brawl A: Definitely Shan, he’s very hard to hurt. I don’t think many people would be keen on fighting him in a fist fight, and he is hugely into protecting his friends.
3. You want someone to sing you to sleep?
A: Not Drey, the image of Kaa from Jungle Book came instantly to mind. I think probably Kaeryn, the Sidhe strive for beauty and perfection in everything, so she should be able to sing well.
Q. Why does Liberator begin where it does?
A: James Bond. We agreed that the start of Bond films are great, where it is straight in with solid action, usually something unrelated to the actual storyline, or the end of the last mission. That’s pretty much where Orlanda is at the start of Liberator. Though even there, if you look closely there is a tiny little pointer of a greater arc. No one will pick it up on a first read though; maybe some people will subconsciously connect it later on.
Q. What was the one question you had wished I asked?
A: Would you like some money? That’s always a good one. But seriously, maybe something about the alien races in the book. It is hard to explain without info dumping, but there aren’t any alien races actually in Liberator except mentions of the Q’ar; who are incredibly ancient, and no longer around, and the Nefarri, who don’t play well with others. Everyone else in the novel is human. Even though they may be completely inhuman, they are actually of human descent. Post-human is a great term. I think it is quite easy to assume the Chekira, Kaeryn, Paran Goh and so on are aliens. They aren’t, they are members of post-human races.
Q. Anything else you would want to share?
A: The paperback edition of Liberator should be available by the time this interview is published and we are looking into the creation of an audiobook. Hopefully we will build a reader base that comes to love these characters and their stories as much as we do, so accessibility is important.
Q. Can you leave a random question for the next author?
A: If you could be a character from your novel(s) who would it be?
Q. Where can we find you online?
A: Liberators.space @nickbailey317 and @darrenbullock61 and www.facebook.com/Liberator-340244139641115 and of course www.amazon.com/Liberator-Liberators-Saga-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01JXHXQN8/
What Are Writer Types?
.Indie author reviews and interviews. I love to read any genre but the particular focus will be sci-fi, fantasy, detective fiction, and authors and poets from the North of Scotland.