Unusual Mysteries

Sahlan Diver's novels and stage plays, presenting mystery stories like never before.

Unusual settings. Unusual characters. Unusual plotlines.

"...unlike any other mystery novel I have ever read."
Readers' Favorite

"...very different from the countless other crime/thriller books that I have read."


What's different about the series: Unusual Mysteries?

Here's some stuff you won't find: inimitable detectives, gritty violence, magic solutions.

No character detectives like Poirot, Reacher, Rebus etc, because I don't wish to write poor quality imitations. The central character in my novels is always 'man-in-the-street', who finds himself caught up in an extraordinary situation, in which you or I could easily find ourselves, and from which he has to use all his resources to escape unharmed.

No explicit 'gritty' violence - because there's enough violence in the world without needing to further normalise it. Instead I do sinister threat and menace. Some readers say the creepiness of my narrative often borders on the supernatural.

No magic solutions - I aim to play fair with the reader, not to magically pull solutions out of the hat at the last minute - everything that happens towards the end needs to have been foreshadowed in some way. A reader should be able to solve the mystery with the clues given throughout.

Here's some stuff you will find: strong female characters, non-prudish sex, multiple misdirection, humour.

Strong female characters - the chief protagonist is always a man, but strong female characters are essential to my stories and reflect the kind of capable women I have worked with in real life. A lot of what you find in contemporary fiction, even when written by women, even when it's good fiction, is hardly "women's lib" is it? - the dependent alcoholic woman damaged by a string of failed relationships, for example.

Non-prudish sex - I don't do 'wink wink, nudge, nudge' and I describe real sex, not kink.

Multiple Misdirection - not just the startling reveal towards the end of each novel, but constant misdirection throughout, building up a picture of a situation which I then shatter to replace by a completely other interpretation. If you enjoy the challenge of trying to keep one step ahead of the author, you will like my work.

Humour - dotted about here and there; occasionally, I hope, of the laugh-out-loud variety.

Finally, my writing is always an examination of something: in The Chapel In The Middle Of Nowhere (Play), the enclosed delusional world of cults; in The Arrangement (Play), the obscenity of religious fanaticism; in The Secret Resort Of Nostalgia (Novel), a critique of modern living and working environments; in For The Love Of Alison (Novel), the sad confidence trick of populist politics, in Sixty Positions with Pleasure (Novel), the outdated farce of excessive nationalism. I put all these themes into the context of a mystery thriller. Whether by doing so, I have invented a new genre, I don't know.

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Mini biography

Educated at Dover Grammar School, Kent, and then at the University Of Birmingham, where I studied microbiology and philosophy. After variously working as a shadow puppet theater manager and prospective jazz saxophonist, I taught myself computer programming, becoming a freelance consultant. My writing career began, aged nine and a half, when I won a national TV children's short story competition. Thereafter my writing became dormant, apart from a couple of Edinburgh Fringe comedy revues, until it was revived in protest against a religious movement I once belonged to. Through the latter experience I gained an understanding of the mechanism by which the arrogance of cults brings out the very worst in human nature. It also provided much useful character study for my subsequent writing, as, for much more positive reasons, did my permanent move to live in the Republic Of Ireland, thirty years ago.