Five Fast Facts: The Secret War

Five Fast Facts: The Secret War

The Official Secrets Act (OSA) is legislation mainly related to national security, but in unrevised form can include all information held by government bodies. It commonly required people working with sensitive information to adhere to it. In The Secret War, Karen Andersen has a conversation with her time to time boss Quacker reminding him that signing is intended more as a reminder to the person that they are under such obligations as the act is a law, not a contract, and individuals are bound by it whether or not they have signed.

In The Secret War, we meet Tomio Nakamura, recently retired as a professor of biochemistry at the University of Liverpool because of a scandal involving a Chinese student. In 2006 the real-life Liverpool University became the first in the UK to establish an independent university in China, making it a world’s first. In addition, Chinese now make up one in five of the University’s student population. So much so, British MPs have warned of the influence of the Chinese government on campus. Liverpool has a long history of research into tropical medicines. It played a major part in the developing drug treatments and vaccines at the outbreak of Covid-19.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) commonly known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the founding and sole governing political party of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Founded in 1921, with the help of the Soviet Union, the party grew quickly. The People’s Republic of China, formed on 1 October 1949, presided over by Xi Jinping controls the country’s armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The CCP puts a great deal of effort into the party schools and into crafting its ideological message. In Book 3 of the Karen Andersen thriller series, she looks for the link between Professor Tomio Nakamura and the  CPC.

A Transatlantic cruise or “crossing” is one of the most luxurious ways to make a journey between Europe and the America and embarked on by grand ocean liners of yesteryear. The Queen Mary 2 still undertakes the route regularly. Much of the action in The Secret War takes place on board the fictional Princess Hyacinth, which sails the iconic route from Southampton to New York in seven days. The voyage is 3,150 nautical miles, or 3,625 statute miles.

Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, insects, and fungi is a crime under the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). In contrast, defensive biological research for peaceful purposes is not prohibited such as that carried out at the Ministry of Defence’s Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. Biological warfare is as old as civilization, but bio terrorism and black biology is an emerging threat to world peace.

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Five Fast Facts: The Killing of the Cherrywood MP

Five Fast Facts: The Killing of the Cherrywood MP

The Killing of the Cherrywood MP is the second novel in the thriller series featuring London Private Investigator Karen Andersen. It’s 2019 and MI5 is set to release the reformed female Jihadi terrorist Zinah al-Rashid from prison.

The Killing of the Cherrywood MP tackles Far-Right politics which have existed in the UK since the 1930s. From the 1980s, the term has mainly been used to describe groups such as the fictional English Concern Group featured in the book. Their ideology revolves around the wish to preserve what they perceive to be British culture.

The exclusive Ritz Club, London’s most famous gambling casino is at 150 Piccadilly and is open 24 hours a day. It features several times in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.

UK Jihadi brides returning to the UK following the fall of the Islamic State is one of topics explored in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. Britain has by far the highest rate of repatriated former ISIS brides in Europe. Hundreds of Britons travelled to Syria and Iraq amid the rise of ISIL. Nearly half have been able to return safely. Only a few have been prosecuted in British courts. The country with the next highest proportion was Germany.

St. Tropez is a fishing port in the South of France. It’s home to ome to some of the most prestigious yachts on the planet. An unexplained death at sea is a subplot of The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.  There are 360,000 deaths by drowning worldwide every year.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

 

Tories, Jihadi Brides, Harrods, Exclusion Bullying and Battle Buses. A quick breakdown of the political thriller, The Missing Activist

?Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 1: CCHQ  is the headquarters of the British Conservative Party. It houses central staff and committee members and maintains overall responsibility for targeting voters and seats, including shortlisting and finalising the selection of conservative candidates across the United Kingdom for local and national elections.[ It is also used as a phone bank for volunteers like Robin Miller and is featured in The Missing Activist.

What is CCHQ?

CCHQ is the headquarters of the British Conservative Party. It houses central staff and committee members and maintains overall responsibility for targeting voters and seats. In addition, it short lists and finalises the selection of Tory candidates across the United Kingdom for both local and national elections. CCHQ operates a phone bank for volunteers like Robin Miller, and features in The Missing Activist.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 2: Harrods in Knightsbridge is the luxury department store where Karen Andersen’s nemesis Zinah al-Rashid meets her first recruit in The Missing Activist. It was set up as a one-room outlet in 1849 by Charles Harrod and today houses 330 and is owned by the state of Qatar.
A Luxury Department Store

Key Fact 2. Harrods is a luxury department store in Knightsbridge, London. It is where Karen Andersen’s nemesis Zinah al-Rashid meets her first Jihadi bride recruit in The Missing Activist. Charles Harrod began the world famous shop as a one-room outlet in 1849. But today Harrods houses 330. The State of Qatar owns it.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 3L British girls lured to Syria to become jihadi brides is one of the topics of The Missing Activist. when  PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many have made the journey to join Isis. Studies done by RUSI  suggest the draws are many. They  include a rejection of Western feminism, peer influence, female romantic optimism and the chance to be part of something new, exciting and illicit
British Born Isis Brides 

Fast Fact 3 is Isis brides. In The Missing Activist, PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many British girls have made the journey to Syria to marry Jihadi fighters. Studies by RUSI suggest the draws are many. They include a rejection of Western feminism, peer influence, female romantic optimism and the chance to be part of something new, exciting and illicit.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 4: A major incident in The Missing Activist occurs on a battle bus, the name given to a coach or vehicle used as both a method of transport as well as a center of operations during a political campaign, In 2017 a scandal threatened to overturn the government and even stop Brexit when a busload of activists were driven around the country and their costs not declared as part of  party spending..

A touring centre of operations

A major incident in The Missing Activist occurs in one. This is the name given to a coach or vehicle used as both a method of transport and also a center of operations during a political campaign. In 2017 a scandal threatened to overturn the government and stop Brexit. A busload of Tory activists toured around the country. However, the party did not declare costs in their budget.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 5:Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual "executioner" in the aboriginal culture who “points the bone” at a victim to expel them from their community.  If this happens no one is allowed any further contact with them. Victims usually die a self-imposed death in days. In Australia, the practice is still common enough that hospital staff are trained to manage illness caused by bone pointing. Its modern equivalent is exclusion bullying which is a theme running through  The Missing Activist.

Who are the Kurdaitcha?

Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual ‘executioner’ in Aboriginal culture who ‘points the bone at a victim to expel them from their community. If this happens, no one can contact or mix with them. Victims usually die a self-imposed death in days. In Australia, the practice is still common enough that they train hospital staff to manage illness caused by bone pointing. Its modern equivalent is exclusion bullying. A theme running through The Missing Activist and Fast Fact Five.

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Five Fast Facts: Moderating Feminism

Five Fast Facts: Moderating Feminism


Moderating Feminism first off covers the history of the movement from the Contagious Diseases Act to the implications of today’s sharia courts. Have we moved forward? The subject has always been fraught with contradictions. The Great War caused infighting over whether the conflict was good or bad for women’s liberation. Feminist writing in the nineteen sixties helped uncover domestic violence but also began the hideous male blame culture. The birth control pill brought big change. But while women could sleep around in the seventies, it was they couldn’t display themselves as sex objects. Touch but don’t look. The Superwoman era—the 1980s which should have been a triumph began the Backlash period. High heels were back.


What became of stoicism? Are we stronger or are women today helpless, unhappy and in need of special privilege. Modernising Feminism asks if radical feminists (not that they would see themselves as such) want women to worry more about themselves or others? How have we switched over the past fifty years? Trials of enforced unisex job sharing in Scandinavia and Israel found it produced the opposite. A more gendered, male-dominated community. But advances for women have also been significant.


Victorian soul savers viewed women not as men’s equals but as their superiors. In Moderating Feminism I suggest some feminists believe it is women’s duty to control and retrain men, which is similar. Equality should be the aim. Until recently if you were anti-porn you’d be labeled prudish. Campaigners such as Mary Whitehouse weren’t s women’s rights campaigners. So I guess it is ok to bare all, but not for men to look.


Moderating Feminism draws on 1980s research focused on bullying amongst teenage girls by their female peers. Queen Bee Syndrome was at the heart of girl group culture. Sisterhood should be more egalitarian. The Feminist Consumer continues to confound. As women achieve more parity  with men they appear to value their physical looks even more than the politics which put them there.


Today there is too much talk about what is wrong rather than what’s right. Little is written on innate female wisdom, common sense and maternal judgement. In Moderating Feminism  I give my view. But it is only one. I’m opening up the debate just a tad. I hope I’ve been a good moderator.