In recent posts on this website, Brian Porter let slip that he was a professional author... the bit he missed off was that he is a best-selling author not only in the UK but also the US, with his unique mixture of historical murder-mysteries as well as childern's books and ones for young people, as Brian L Porter, or his penname, Harry Porter.

For a unique insight into the life, mind, personal challenges and experiences, read this brilliant interview from a couple of years ago, by Fiona McVie on her Wordpress blog:

Here is my interview with Brian L Porter


Reader Comments (43)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer


Brian Porter
1 Posted 01/10/2017 at 08:27:15
Paul, thanks for blowing my cover... Lol 😁. Not really a new to blow my own trumpet but thank you so much for responding so positively to the news. I'm no different to anyone else, just an ordinary everyday blues fan, my opinions are of no more importance than anyone else's. Thanks again Paul. I appreciate your kind words on my work.
Christine Foster
2 Posted 01/10/2017 at 08:46:00
Great interview Brian, shall look forward to reading a Mersey killing although you should add another chapter or two considering what's going on at Goodison!

Coming from the same era, I still adore the music and the humour and despite living the world over, still proud of my roots.

You never know who is listening in on ToffeeWeb do you?

Thanks Brian, keep them thoughts coming!

Brian Porter
3 Posted 01/10/2017 at 09:45:36
Thanks Christine. I know it might sound perverse but I really miss the old bombsites and the days when we played out all day without fear of being abducted or murdered. Boys in short trousers, the girls in pony tails and pigtails all seems a world away now.

I always wanted to write a book about the old ancestral home town but until a couple of years ago I didn't have the courage to do it. Didn't think I could do the city justice. The book has been quite a success and that has led to me writing the Mersey Mystery series, currently four books with the fifth one being written now. I'm surprised Pail found that old interview which I did with Fiona at least two years ago.

You might be pleased to know that the leading character in the books, DI Andy Ross is am Everton fan. All the central characters in A Mersey Killing were based on my family members as they were back in the 60s. I hope that helped to make them realistic. I do hope you get the chance to read it one day and maybe the rest of the series too and would love to see a reader review with your name on it on Amazon one day.

Like you, my life has seen me in various places over the years, through time in the RAF and other jobs after that. I thank God I have a superb lady beta reader in Liverpool who keeps me on track when I write about places or streets that just aren't there any more... Lol 😁. She's a great help and the other week went driving around the city looking for a suitable site to use as a body dump in the next book. I'm just glad she wasn't approached by a policeman as she peered over various railway bridges and asked what she was doing!

The things we do for realism haha.

Fingers, toes, and everything crossed for today.

Eugene Ruane
4 Posted 01/10/2017 at 18:54:30
From 'Dutchman On A Highwire.'

"...the pressure had really started to tell and the demand to know more details about 'the plan' had become intense. He couldn't walk in public without facing a barrage of questions. 'What's the fuckin' plan Ronnie lad?' he'd heard at least 15 times a day since the start of the season. His response was always the same, a half-knowing smile which suggested he was in charge and that the plan was not only in place but was a good one. One that might take time sure, but one that would work. But then came Burnley, with their hustle and bustle and honest Lancastrian endeavour and all was exposed. The Dutchman began to panic. The truth is, the plan was neither good or bad because there simply was no plan. When this became apparent, he wasn't sure of his next move. His first thought was to act 'tough', but when you have a mob of 40,000 screaming "you fucking clueless fat Greggs pastie sucking twat", getting tough probably isn't the way to go. Then...he vanished. When the police found the body, it wasn't pretty. At least a hundred season tickets and an Alan Ball flag had been shoved violently up ."

Andy Crooks
5 Posted 01/10/2017 at 18:55:00
Thanks, Paul, and well done Brian. Great stuff. You know, I look at all those who post on this site and weirdly think that I am the only one with a job. The rest of you are full time Evertonians!

Brian, Paul, I spend every day in work promoting reading to children. If you ever come to Belfast I would love your help.

Martin Nicholls
6 Posted 02/10/2017 at 13:07:57
Brian - haven't read the interview yet but when I gathered from your recent posts that you were an author, it prompted me to buy "A Mersey Killing" which I am now reading on my Kindle. Enjoying it so far!!
Christine Foster
7 Posted 02/10/2017 at 20:03:52
Brian, indeed, I was at Great Homer street market the other week, now situated in Virgil Street where I used to live with my Nan, just reminiscing how it used to look and how Roscommon street was demolished and how we played in the sites..

Plenty of places to stash bodies Brian, underneath the old Exchange station, the tunnel that used to go from Pall Mall to the stadium.. the tunnels under the old cinema in the Dingle, or the Williamson tunnels.. tunnels every where! ( or off the floating bridge where the slaves where transported up to exchange flags from the Pier head..) No don't use that one, that's where I used to dump my last one.. or the cellar of my Mum and Dads old pub in Pownall square, plenty of hidden alcoves in there to wall up a large Dutchman.. lol many would be grateful.. or merciful!

Makes a change to chat about getting rid of the body instead of getting rid of the manager.. although I tend to think the two are somewhat related...

I shall indeed read the aforementioned, and review on Amazon, seems Kindle is the only way I get to read there days.. it helps me sleep and takes my mind off the blues!


Gavin Fennessy
8 Posted 02/10/2017 at 20:19:35
Hi Brian,
As chance would have it I had come across one of your children's books - it caught my eye as Harry Potter is beloved amongst my kids and I saw the name Harry Porter when browsing on Amazon and got intrigued. My daughter is dog mad so I bought her Tilly's Tale last year and it is her favourite book! She even did a presentation at her primary school all about the story. Never even spotted it was a nom de plume and never suspected you were a fellow Blue. She will be made up to hear that I have passed on news of her fandom. I heard her correct her friends (also 10-11) that Harry Potter did not write the book but that it was Magic!
Dennis Stevens
9 Posted 03/10/2017 at 02:15:18
I'm shocked Brian: A Study in Red? Tell me you've also written a book entitled Blue Murder, please!
Brian Porter
10 Posted 03/10/2017 at 06:06:29
Dennis #10. 'A Study in Red' was of course the first in my Jack the Ripper trilogy. With the best will in the world I couldn't find a more appropriate colour for the blood of his victims as 'A Study in Scarlet', had already been used by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his superb Sherlock Holmes stories.

Strange to think that Everton had been in existrnce for ten years before Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of Whitechapel.

Brian Porter
11 Posted 03/10/2017 at 06:15:41
Gavin #8. Thank you for telling me about your daughter. Sadly, Tilly is no longer with me, but don't tell her that. I'm so touched and very proud that Tilly's Tale has become her favourite book. That has made my day.

If you give me her name and send me your address I will send her a little surprise to thank her for her lovely comment about the book being magic. You will find contact details on my website, Link or through my various Facebook pages which I have mentioned in previous posts above. Such loyalty deserves reward and encouragement. Thanks for brightening up my day.

Brian Porter
12 Posted 03/10/2017 at 06:37:19
Christine. #7, thanks for the information, all of which I will store for future reference. In this case the dump site needs to be beside a railway line as it will form part of book 6 in the series, Last Train to Lime Street. I'm currently writing book 5, A Very Mersey Murder. Book 4,A Mersey Mariner was recently released in Kindle and paperback.

By the way, the Mersey Mysteries have been signed up for a future TV franchise deal in the USA but it may be some years for it to come to fruition.

I think I might be able to fit the murder of a dour, unfeeling and unpopular Dutch businessman into one of my books.. Lol 😁.

Keep the faith, all will be well eventually, I hope! Just a point of interest. Most of my family used to work for BICC in Prescot in one capacity or another, except for my Dad's cousin George who went from humble beginnings to a very high position with Shell Oil. I can remember him paying to take all the aunties, uncles, cousins etc on holiday to Spain or Portugal, long before the days of package holidays. They must have presented quite a sight, all boarding the plane at Ringway all those years ago.
Someone should have made a film about them, 'The Thompsons Abroad: would have made great reality TV. A laugh a minute stuff!

I'm dead chuffed that the first in the series, A Mersey Killing has now been released in Spanish and Portuguese language editions and the Spanish edition was yesterday #13 the new Amazon UK's rankings of Spanish language murder mystery novels.

What was your parents pub called? I'm now up to 2005 in the series, but as most of the books include historical events and cold cases I would be happy to give it a mention in the current book if the timeline fits.

Hope you enjoy any of my books you read and I will look for your name on future reviews. If you are on Facebook you can find me there as Harry Porter, or on the Mersey Mysteries by Brian L Porter page, or my fan page, Fans of Brian L Porter. Be very happy to hear from you.

Brian Porter
13 Posted 03/10/2017 at 06:59:15
Martin #6, thank you so much for getting A Mersey Killing. I'm glad you're enjoying it and hope you continue to do so. Most of the central characters are based on my own family members, as they were in the 1960s, with changed names of course except for the police's Press liason officer, George Thompson. I kept his real name out of respect to a truly lovely man. I'm in there too. Bet you won't be able to guess which character I am...lol 😁.

I hope you will be kind enough to leave me a good review on Amazon after reading the book. Don't do it on the Kindle though, (if you're reading one a Kindle), as my fellow authors and I have discovered that reviews left at the end of Kindle books never seem to show up on the Amazon site.

So, have a great day, and here's hoping for good times ahead for our great club. 'Cry Everton, and let loose the dogs of war'. Bit of a parody there but the sentiment is honest enough. Lord knows we need a bit of that attitude at present.

Brian Porter
14 Posted 03/10/2017 at 07:09:53
Andy #5. What a wonderful thing you do, in promoting reading to the younger generation. I have noticed a distinct lack of reading skills among the youth of today, which I think has had the knock-on effect of producing lazy language skills and a generation becoming more and more dependent on text speak and so on due to the reliance on communication via the Internet rather than by direct communication.

Although my health is now so poor that I can only travel short distances, I do wish I could do something to help you. What you do is so important for the future of those children, even if they don't realise it at present.

My two step-daughters, aged 17 & 19, never read books and I fear for their long term future. The eldest has just started at Leeds Beckett University and I can't understand how she got there when she hasn't read a real book for years. It speaks to me of an incredible dumbing down of standards in further education.

Here's to you, keep up the great work you're doing. The future is bright, the future is... BLUE!

Brian Porter
15 Posted 03/10/2017 at 07:18:12
Eugene. #4. Now that's what I call a great piece of Flash Fiction. If only... Lol 😁
John Keating
16 Posted 03/10/2017 at 08:28:14
Christine 7 It's funny you mention the market. I took my man down there a couple of weeks ago to see what they've done around the Friary church - we used to live at the very bottom of Upper Beau Street over the road from Hanlons glove works before moving over the Brow to Salisbury Street.
I suppose they call it progress but can't take away the memories and laughs.
Christine Foster
17 Posted 03/10/2017 at 21:21:21
John (#16) Yes, it has all changed now, people say for the better but in truth I sometimes doubt it... it's rather sad that the memories we have of times before, be it the market or Scotland Road, will disappear with us, but the laughs.. oh my, they were good times too in the 60s growing up when Liverpool was the centre of the earth!

You could walk down Virgil Street on a Sunday afternoon and all you could smell was Sunday roast, sprouts, beef or lamb, gravy... when the pubs got out, and by 4pm all the men asleep..

No pubs now, Sunday is another day.. football on Sky and family live miles away. As the saying goes, you never know what you have got until its gone..

BTW John, no relation to the late dearly departed Mick Keating?

Christine Foster
18 Posted 03/10/2017 at 21:35:59
Brian, Well done that's great news about the series rating so high in Spain, and I will look out for the TV series when it happens as I am sure it will..

You may want to look at the old Edge Lane, cuttings if I remember rightly there were small dwelling built into the side of the cuttings used by railway navvies and the staff when the line was built, much was bricked up but they are still there..

Big enough for a Dutchman lol.

Mum and Dad's pub was called the Wedding House in Pownall Square of Tithebarn Street opposite St Marys, it was a Tetley house, and many a fine time was had with stay backs and British railway staff, then Polytechnic students until its closure I think around 1996? Mum and Dad had it from about 1970 for over 20 years... so I am afraid its out of your timeline! But that's okay. its vivid in my minds eye!

Keep writing and I shall purchase and review! Keep in touch... and if you ever need to know where the bodies are buried lol...

John Keating
19 Posted 03/10/2017 at 21:57:52
Christine, no relation to Mick.

Yes late 50s and 60s was brilliant around there. Well maybe a bit of rose tinted specks. We were all in one bedroom, mam and dad in one bed and us 3 lads in the other, just room for a cot for my sister.

Overcoats to keep us warm and bitten alive by the bloody bedbugs – well we were kids and knew no better!

Still didn't stop them singing in every ale house though. More important – we had a bloody better team !

Andy Crooks
20 Posted 03/10/2017 at 22:08:51
Brian, I think you might like what happened in work today. I was talking to 24 children about why they like fiction. Pure pleasure, what happens next, turning the page, time travel, turning the page, living another life in another world. They were 8-year-olds and it was fun.

As they left one of them asked if I could recommend a good book on the Vietnam war. It made my day and I don't know why.

Declan Campbell
21 Posted 03/10/2017 at 22:12:51
When is your book on your obsession with Funes Mori coming out?

I love a bit of rose-tinted glassed memories of fifties and sixties North Liverpool. Those great days of poverty and sectarianism, so upset we don't have that anymore.

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 03/10/2017 at 22:32:53
Andy (#20), keep encouraging kids to read, best entertainment of all, reading a book.

Brian, well done for getting your life in a better place through your ability to write. With you on Ghandi, the greatest man of the twentieth century, IMO.

Christine, enjoyed many a night in the Wedding House, except for the toilet, only one for both sexes, and a girl on 'Dixie' when the girls were using it, didn't stop the enjoyment though,also Braziers pub just across from your parents pub.

I used to play for The Guild of St Gerard's football team run from St Mary's, happy, happy days.

Brian Porter
23 Posted 04/10/2017 at 06:31:46
Declaration #21, nice one, I must give that some thought. Seriously though, I'm not going obsessed with Funes Morissette, I just think I see more in her mouth than quite a few others. I kneow right now, I would be happy to have him in the back four in place of Ashley Williams who seems to be a mistake waiting to happen in every game.

As for the sixties, the poverty and sectarianism you speak of actually forms the central theme of the first of my Mersey Mystery series. There's no denying those things existed, but what Christine and others recall, like me, is the fact that as kids, we still felt safe and were able to have fun and not feel threatened in any way. And, we didn't have or need expensive computer games or mobile phones and fancy gadgets in order to enjoy growing up. To be honest, I doubt most of the children of that era knew much about the politics of the day or had heard of the word sectarianism. The grown up world was a lifetime away from most of us and I for one didn't really have much comprehension of the divisions in society until reaching my teens, by which time, I had had lots of fun growing up with a great set of pals.

John G Davies
24 Posted 04/10/2017 at 06:38:46
Declan,

Thankfully all that religious division and children living below the poverty line is no longer with us.

Amit Vithlani
25 Posted 04/10/2017 at 07:19:14
Brian - wonderful interview and I shall certainly be downloading your books for my 7-year-old boy to read.

If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion for a future children's book – something that revolves around keeping the faith!

I took my lad to his first ever Everton game against Stoke. It was like a dream – from meeting Goodison legends such as Rats and Sharpey, to Rooney scoring the winner on his return and ruffling his hair as he gave him an autograph.

Since then, his faith is being severely tested and the teasing by class mates intense. After our hammering by United he was beside himself on the Monday as the other lads gave him plenty of stick.

Of course it is a journey we have all been through and a rite of passage for all young Evertonians – although at 7 years old it is tough to comprehend the rewards all the suffering could possibly bring!

Christine Foster
26 Posted 04/10/2017 at 07:45:35
Brian, couldn't agree with you more. When as a kid of 4 we were shipped out to Netherton, I remember having great summers, and winters (1963) exploring. No fear, none at all.

I would regularly ride my bike with friends, sisters or on my own to Ainsdale or Southport. I was 7 then. Can you imagine that today? Or go for a summer walk on my own through the fields to Sefton church.

It's not rose tinted glasses, it was the way it was. Which is such a sad indictment on life today?

Dave, actually we did have a ladies loo in the snug round the back but many did use the man's one in the bar! Many a good night with Bob Ramsey and Peter McGowan sing in the parlour, Muleskinner Blues, and the song Peter himself wrote and sang, In my Liverpool Home... great people, great characters..

Good morning Captain, good morning son.

Christine Foster
27 Posted 04/10/2017 at 07:54:10
John, a little observation, going back to Greatie a number of times during my life. It doesn't matter how far away I lived, be it Australia or New Zealand, I would sometimes stand in the crowd on Saturday mornings and look around, at the people, and realise they were all like me: 5 foot nothing, walked like me, laughed like me, same expressions, laugh, sayings, where communication was a nod or a gesture that you immediately understood, my tribe. Home.
Christine Foster
28 Posted 04/10/2017 at 07:58:05
Dave, apologies, the annoyance of predictive text, of course it was Peter McGovern not McGowan. I really should read what I wrote before launching it into the blue...
Christine Foster
29 Posted 04/10/2017 at 08:07:38
Declan, actually the 60s was a very prosperous time in Liverpool, yes there were poor houses but generally there was work and food on the table, even a holiday or two..

Religion was a huge factor In the daily life of Liverpool then, the Orange Lodge, the May Day processions, a mixed marriage then was Catholic and Protestant not colour.

But I cannot remember much if any violence or hatred, just a healthy disrespect.

Phil Sammon
30 Posted 04/10/2017 at 08:32:49
Goodness me, we really are blessed on ToffeeWeb. I know we also have Bill Bryson's son-in-law on here too.

I'll have to actually read a book one of these days.

Laurie Hartley
31 Posted 04/10/2017 at 08:41:09
Eugene # 4 - looking forward to your sequel:

Italian and the New Dawn

Brian,

Park Station Birkenhead - 50 metres down the rail tunnel there is a linesman's shelter in the tunnel wall. Easy access during the night when the trains have stopped.

Shaun Lyon
32 Posted 04/10/2017 at 09:04:54
The nostalgic reminiscences here a happy diversion from contemplating the current state of the blues. Eugene, you deserve an award sir. OM perhaps (Order of Merseyside) for services to literature, and for helping to keep an entirely justifiably depression-prone section of the community smiling. Good lad.
Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 04/10/2017 at 09:16:06
Christine (#26), your brief mention of the winter in 1963 and I immediately started shivering. I think it lasted from early November to the middle of April, the worse part was hardly any football was played!!!
Brian Porter
34 Posted 05/10/2017 at 06:21:10
Thanks for that information Laurie (#31). My apologies to everyone for not keeping up with replies to your comments, all of which I appreciate. But I'm having a bit of a mare at home at present. Last week my car, a Volvo that my wife and I had looked after from purchasing it, was hit by a digger truck, working for the Gas Board while digging up the gas mains outside our house.

Their insurers admitted liability but I have been fighting for a fair settlement once they declared our car a total write-off. Finally reached an agreement with them yesterday and have convinced them to let me keep the loan vehicle they have provided me with for an additional ten days while I urgently look for another vehicle.

Christine (#26), yes I remember things exactly as you do. It was a good time to grow up, despite any social divisions which, at that age, were beyond our knowledge and understanding.

Dave (#33) yes, the winter of 63 was, I think the coldest of God knows how many years and like you, mere thoughts of it, I find shiver inducing.

Amit (#25), thank you so much and I really hope your son enjoys the books you download.

Gavin Fennessy
35 Posted 05/10/2017 at 19:56:43
Amit, I feel your pain. I have a 7 year old lad that I took to his first Goodison game last year. He loves football and is also running into the inevitable tide of abuse when he turns up in his Blue kit to train with the local club. It is tough to keep the faith, however old you get, but at 7 it is a bit difficult to stand up to the crowd of 'Top Club' kitted young lads. Bloody hell, half of them don't realise that Barcelona don't actually play in the EPL at that age. I think we need Brian to tell a tale of redemption for young blues everywhere.
Jamie Crowley
36 Posted 05/10/2017 at 00:03:44
By the way, the Mersey Mysteries have been signed up for a future TV franchise deal in the USA but it may be some years for it to come to fruition.

If and when that happens, and God willing even if it takes some time I'll still be on the right side of the grass, let us maybe know if that deal culminates and there's an actual pilot / series Brian.

One American who'd tune in for sure. ;0)

Brian Porter
37 Posted 06/10/2017 at 06:31:51
Thanks so much Jamie #36. Speaking of the USA, it's interesting to see that in the majority of cases my books receive far more reviews in the States than in the UK. Either I have a much bigger following over there or it could just be explained by the fact that the US is a much larger market than the UK.

The one significant exception to the above is my true life dog rescue book, Sasha, now an international bestseller and award winner, which has taken the UK by storm, topping the rankings no less than 8 times. It has also been a #1 bestseller in Australia 7 times, as well as topping the charts in Italy, surprisingly.

I'm also delighted that A Mersey Killing was a #1 bestseller in Australia too, and the other books in the Mersey Mystery series have all featured in the Aussie top 20. Wonder if we have many blues down under?

Back to US for a minute and I'm excited to have a new release coming soon. American romantic historical fiction author Diana Rubino contacted me over a year ago, and asked me to co-write her latest book. Sharing Hamilton is about the first sex-scandal to rock the USA's first government under George Washington, and her agent decided it needed more 'oomph.' Diana knew me from years ago when I'd been her editor on one of her earlier novels and having read most of my work, she felt I was the ideal person to write a back-story to her fact based novel, by creating a serial killer story to insert into her romantic fiction. I was happy to help her out and duly created the necessary work which was then seamlessly incorporated into the original work. I then recommended the book to my publisher, who gleefully accepted it and the completed book will be released in about a month. Another example of UK/US bank nternational cooperation! God bless the US of A.

Thanks again Jamie and I hope while you are waiting for the TV series to be produced you might actually read some of the Mersey Mysteries too, all are available at Amazon in the US.

Brian Porter
38 Posted 06/10/2017 at 06:43:10
Gavin #35. Thanks for your emails the other day. It was great. 'talking to you' online for an hour or so.

I have organised that little gift for your daughter that I mentioned and it will be winging its way to her shortly. I hope you receive Sasha's book before it arrives. You will know why when you see it. I hope she likes it and that it will inspire her to make another presentation at school and further encourage her love of reading.

Ian Burns
39 Posted 06/10/2017 at 10:00:04
Hi Brian, typical of Paul Ferry to recognise talent - he hasn't seen much at Goodison lately! I am trying to order your Mersey Mystery series right now as there is no way I will find them where I am living away from the UK and I am thoroughly looking forward to reading them over a gin or two.

As far as dumping dead bodies, you could do worst than dump one in RK's office as he would simply think it is one of his defenders or an additional number 10 just lying around.

Amit Vithlani
40 Posted 06/10/2017 at 10:37:29
Gavin @ 35 fully agree!
Brian Porter
41 Posted 06/10/2017 at 16:34:10
Ian, #39. Thank you so much. You should have no problem ordering from Amazon, wherever you are in the world. I really appreciate you getting the books and love your body dump idea, but wouldn't any body left in RK's office stand a chance of being offered a two year contract extension as well?
Ian Burns
42 Posted 06/10/2017 at 21:50:57
Brian - successfully ordered starting with A Mersey Killing. I am delighted on two fronts a) I am looking forward to reading this first one over a gin or two and b) I've ordered something over Amazon without the help of my wife!!
Brian Porter
43 Posted 07/10/2017 at 05:58:38
Thanks and congratulations Ian #42. I'm delighted to have been the catalyst for you mastering the art of independently ordering from Amazon lol 😂, and I hope you go on to enjoy A Mersey Killing. I hope you will be kind enough to add a review on Amazon after you have read the book. Tip: don't do a review at the end of the Kindle book as they ask you to, as we have discovered that such reviews rarely if ever find their way on to the Amazon website. Far better to add your review to the actual book page you ordered from and that way it's guaranteed to appear. Don't mention that you know me though or Amazon will disqualify your review! Happy reading!

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.


© ToffeeWeb