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Orlando Murrin | Crime Fiction Author & Food Writer


       If you're here because of Knife Skills for Beginners, this page will explain my background, and how I found myself drawn into a life of crime.

        The blurb on the back of my books reads as follows…

         'After being flung into the culinary limelight as a semi-finalist on Masterchef, Orlando Murrin edited BBC Good Food for six years and founded Olive magazine; then switched track to become a chef-hotelier in SW France and Somerset.

         'He has written seven cookbooks and is President of the Guild of Food Writers. An ever-popular guest on TV and radio, he presents the BBC Good Food Podcast with Tom Kerridge.

         'From his grandfather, a Met detective who rose to become a crack MI5 interrogator, he inherited a fascination with crime and mystery. He lives in domestic bliss in Exeter, Devon, and this is his first novel.'

         If you're interested in a little more detail, here it is.

Like many writers, I've had a varied career. After reading English at Cambridge, my first job was editing the classical music pages at BBC Radio Times; this was a good fit as in those days I had a remarkable memory for spelling the names of obscure composers and opus numbers.         Unfortunately this didn't earn me enough to live in style, so I moonlighted (moonlit?) as a restaurant pianist in hotels, clubs and bars. Despite the occasional longueurs – playing for hours with no one listening – I enjoyed some success and ended up with a residency at Kettner's in Soho – in its glory days – which I held down for over twenty years.         Meanwhile, my magazine career slowly progressed. For three years I worked at Living Magazine, edited by the indomitable Dena Vane, then for the launch of Country Homes and Interiors. After two years out working as copywriter at Grey Advertising, I enjoyed a glorious spell at Cosmopolitan, then became the first male editor in the 70-year history of Woman & Home. In 1992 I was catapulted into the culinary limelight when I won through to the semi-finals of Masterchef, never having seen the programme. Subsequently I became editor of BBC Good Food and the recipe columnist for the Daily Express. Seven years and two thousand recipes later, I jumped ship to open Le Manoir de Raynaudes, a gastro-B&B in South West France, later returning to the UK to create Langford Fivehead, a boutique hotel in an Elizabethan manor house in Somerset. Having survived the angst of professional cheffing, I now live as quietly as possible in Exeter, South West England, where I write for Waitrose Weekend and BBC Good Food and am President of the Guild of Food Writers. Why crime? I come from a family of law enforcers. My grandfather, William Skardon, was the crack MI5 interrogator who ran Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce) to ground in Germany in 1946, secured the confession of Klaus Fuchs and broke the Portland Spy Ring. After his flight to Russia, Philby commented 'the only man I feared was Skardon'. My great-uncle was Macmillan's bodyguard. My grandfather was obviously forbidden from speaking about his MI5 career, but took delight in reminiscing about his time as a detective in pre-war Soho, and the tiny slips made by murderers which led to many a successful conviction. Why Belgravia? I was born in the United States, brought up in Jersey and have lived all over the place. I chose Belgravia's Chester Square as the setting for Knife Skills For Beginners because of its Gothic atmosphere; this is, after all, where Mary Shelley lived, and was reputed to roam the communal gardens holding a reticule containing the remains of her husband's brain. Any more plans for Paul Delamare? He will set sail for a new adventure in 2025.

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