His first book was published in 1994. Since then, work after work has followed. Mark McCrum has achieved what many authors dream of: being successful for years, writing bestsellers and making a living from writing. In 2024, he looks back on around 30 years as an author – and publishes a new work entitled Murder on Tour.

The Festival Murders, the first part of Mark McCrum’s crime series, was published in 2014. It stars crime writer Francis Meadowes, who soon has to prove himself as an amateur detective.

This is Francis’ fourth time investigating. In Murder on Tour, he is offered the opportunity to work as a paid detective for the first time. The job takes him on a European tour with the fictional rock star Jonni K. From Sweden via Germany to France, the reader embarks on an exciting journey with Francis, on which one question plays a decisive role between numerous concerts: Who wants to harm the band and the rock star? A race against time begins. After an overdose on the tour bus, one disaster seems to follow the next. With Murder on Tour, Mark McCrum has created a story that delivers great suspense until the very end. Shortly after its publication in February, I spoke to him about book number four in the Francis Meadows series.

Mark McCrum about the inspiration for his new book Murder on Tour

Mark, how long did you work on your new book Murder on Tour?

I have been thinking about this story for years, but the actual writing of it took about a year.

You went on tour with Robbie Williams in 2000 (The Sermon on the Mount tour). Your new book is about a rock star named Jonni K who goes on a similar tour through Europe. How much of the experiences from the tour with Robbie Williams play into the whole setting of the story about Jonni K?

Yes, you are right, I did go on tour with Robbie Williams, back in the day, and a very exciting experience that was, as we made our way from Stockholm to Paris via many German cities. Obviously, some of that experience went into the writing of Murder on Tour, which follows a similar journey round Europe, but Jonni K is a contemporary pop star and certainly not Robbie! But being with the band and entourage and seeing what went on backstage, on the tour buses, and in the VIP rooms of swanky nightclubs certainly gave me some ideas.

What other inspiration did you use for your book?

In my other role as a ghostwriter, I have worked with other UK musicians on other books, including one, for a very famous band, that never appeared. So
those stories also gave me useful insights about the fascinating world of rock and roll.

Francis Meadowes crimes series: Mark McCrum thinks about fifth book

As a writer myself, I know that sometimes parts of the characters in books are inspired by people the author knows or even by herself/himself. You once told me that Francis Meadows is a version of you. How much of Mark McCrum is in Francis Meadows?

Good question! Francis is, as you know, both mixed race and very handsome, so clearly he isn’t me. He is also ten years younger than me. But yes, inevitably, my outlook on the world is reflected in Francis’s, and hopefully my humour also. But as you know as a writer, when you create characters, they often go off in ways that you didn’t intend, and that has certainly happened with Francis. Fortunately, reading the reader reviews on Amazon, he seems to be a well-liked character, so I am happy about that.

What do you expect from the book?

As always, I hope that readers will be entertained and enjoy my story. I hope that I have constructed a plot which will tease and confuse them, as they try and work out who the murderer is, in this case of two victims, with two further attacks. Obviously, it would be great if they liked it so much they recommended it to their friends, and we had great sales, which is the goal of any published writer.

Will there be another sequel to the Francis Meadowes series?

I am thinking about this at the moment. Lots of reader reviews on Amazon have asked if there will be a no 5, so I feel as if I should try and satisfy demand. I just need to come up with a plot that inspires me and makes me want to get stuck in to writing about Francis again. But I do think there is plenty more we can learn about him, so that is a good start.

You have published many books over the years. Is the day of publication a day like any other, or do you celebrate it?

In the old days I used to go out to lunch on publication day, sometimes invited by a friendly publisher. Now I’m afraid things are a bit more routine. Publication day is much like any other day, though I might take it off and go for a long walk with my dog. And I do generally mix myself and my wife a martini cocktail in the evening as a mini-celebration.

Interview: Michelle Brey

Photography: Mark McCrum