Sunday, 5 August 2018

Duck Egg Blues by Martin Ungless + Author Interview

Duck Egg Blues by Martin Ungless
First published in the UK by Limes Publishing in May 2017.

For the duration of this blog tour, Duck Egg Blues will be on a Kindle Countdown Deal, so if you are tempted, purchase before the price goes back up!

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon (ebook)

Add Duck Egg Blues to your Goodreads

Duck Egg Blues is funny, sad, mysterious and thrilling. "A robot butler detective, what’s not to love?" 

Martin Ungless is a WCN Escalator Prize winning author who has twice been shortlisted by the Crime Writers’ Association for their Debut Dagger Award. 
What the CWA Judges said about his work: 
‘A clever and ambitious story’
‘I was laughing and crying and hugging the sheets to my chest’ 

This perfect slice of 'cozy crime' is narrated in the voice of a pre-war English butler and concerns a rich and powerful businesswoman whose daughter goes missing from their country house estate. That the story- teller is a robot belonging to an impoverished detective brings a fresh and original take on 'cozy', and as for 'crime'... well, it does begin to escalate, what with MI6, criminal gangs, corrupt police, and that’s not to mention international cybercrime! 

As the plot strands weave together, we discover that behind one mystery lurks a greater threat. No one is safe, not even PArdew... 

This is without doubt the robot-butler-detective thriller you have been waiting for! 

Author Interview

I asked Martin how he goes about writing - whether he has a particular writing space or inspirational rituals, etc.

When I gave up architecture I moved to the countryside to write. Our house came with an Aga, which wouldn’t have been my first choice of oven, but which I have since learned to love. In particular, sitting at the kitchen table in the winter, feeling cosseted and cosy is a great environment for creativity. Summer, it’s all a bit sweaty frankly, especially when the weather’s like it has been this year, but I’ll put up with it, someone’s got to do it. How we suffer for our arts!

I am very happy tapping away at the family table while the kids are off at school. My wife sits opposite, writing her own novels for as long as she can bear the fidgeting. When things are going well I’m totally absorbed, unaware when I fiddle with pen lids or drum my fingers. Then again, if things are flying, I’m just typing, and all spare movement stops.

As someone immersed in architecture for twenty years I am fairly good at sitting down and being creative ‘to order’. I can’t say I was always good at this, but when you run your own business, you soon learn. So I get up and I start writing once I’ve finished my coffee and write through till the kids get home, though what ‘writing’ is differs very much from day to day. It could be research or plotting. The designer in me likes to have the plan of a novel sorted before I start to fill in details, though this doesn’t mean the plot can’t change as the book evolves, ideas occurring along the way and some of the earlier ones turning out simply not to work! So, months can go by before I strike the keys in anger, though having said this my notes on plot often amount to tens of thousands of words, and might even include key scenes already transcribed.

Once I’m in writing-writing mode I tend to review yesterdays work first thing, editing that which I believed only twelve short hours ago to be tight coruscating prose, from the flabby gibberish which it actually is, into something hopefully recognisable as english. It varies how long this takes! The process has the additional benefit of getting me back into the rhythms of my narrative voice(s) - each book I write is very different - and eventually I feel able to start laying down fresh words. Usually this involves fleshing out an idea which I have already had for a scene, and resolving its details, language, and dialogue. I tend to write fast, words pour, especially dialogue but then, as I say, the next day, and sometime the one after too, I must convert this waffle into something readable, cutting at least half the reported speech, increasing the conflict, often building ambiguity back into it. I hope in the end it all hangs together. It is fair to say that editing is where I spend the majority of my writing time.

I am considering taking a new approach with my next book, writing more before allowing myself to rework, and I know I’m going to find it hard because it is almost impossible for me to resist going over yesterday’s flow. One glance and I have to ‘fix it’. Somehow, I’m going to have to learn to hide what I’ve already written from myself!

If I’m stuck on plot, I ask myself questions. Why are you doing this? What are the character’s aims. What would surprise a reader at this point? Usually these sorts of internal dialogues unravel the knots fairly quickly, but from time to time one idea blocks new ones from emerging, and when that idea’s not rich enough you can end up stuck. It’s then that I’ve found that long walks can help. Setting out, I’m endlessly going over and over what I’m trying to resolve and coming up with the same solution time and again, and it can feel very foolish to be wasting time embarking on a stroll when I should be at my desk; but after a while, once I’m breathing slightly harder, as I begin to notice my surroundings and forget what I was thinking about, usually as the first pin-pricks of perspiration break on my brow, then at this moment my mind clears and somehow a new direction reveals itself. I’ve been very lucky with this technique, and I don’t like to over use it. After all, I don’t want to tire myself out!

Meet the author:

Following this year’s success, Martin Ungless had now been shortlisted three times by the Crime Writers’ Association for their Debut Dagger. He has won a WCN Escalator Award, and been successful in a number short-story competitions. Martin started life as an architect though now lives in the Norfolk countryside and writes full time. Martin is currently studying for the prestigious MA in Fiction (Crime) at UEA.

Author links: 
Twitter ~ Goodreads

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Martin Ungless / Crime fiction / Books from England


  1. I didn't expect it to be a cozy mystery when I saw the cover. It sounds good, though! Great interview.

    1. I thought it would be humorous scifi and I suppose there is an element of that

  2. That sounds interesting but maybe not my kind of book.

    1. I wonder if it might be a bit too much of a mashup?

  3. Sounds like a solid mystery but the cover does give the wrong impression about the story in my opinion.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex