James Lear

Back in the mists of time, I was sitting at dinner with a bunch of friends bemoaning the terrible state of the publishing industry and the miserable lot of the writer. Like you do. One of our number piped up ‘Why don’t you write an erotic novel? I know a publisher who’s crying out for them, and they even pay’. Thus inspired I went home and tossed off The Low Road, a ‘reworking’, shall we say, of RLS’s Kidnapped (which I already consider to be one of the most erotic books ever written). It was published and quickly sold out, and more was wanted. I went on to write loads more novels under the name James Lear. (At the time, I was earning most of my living from the BBC, and I guessed they wouldn’t take too kindly to one of their employers turning literary tricks in this way.)

Over the years, James Lear has taken on a life of his own. The books keep on selling – particularly the ‘Mitch Mitchell’ novels (The Back Passage, The Secret Tunnel, A Sticky End, The Sun Goes Down), about a sexually robust detective in the 1920s, my homage to the novels of my idol, Agatha Christie. My other  hero is Dan Stagg, who was introduced in 2013’s The Hardest Thing and had a second outing in 2015’s Straight Up. They’re all very much available in both print and digital form. You can get them all from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

45 responses to “James Lear

  1. Gibner Irmigstad

    Being a crime novel fiend, my hands were straying the other day over the spines in the local bookstore (i.e. the one that still hangs on by its teeth) and I came across The Secret Tunnel. Granted, the picture on the cover provided a fair warning of things ahead, but I did end up getting a LOT more than I expected and in the most delightful way. Thank you for making me laugh out loud, with accompanying erection, for the first time in my life (well, for the first time in a crowded tube carriage)! A cracking good read and I’m looking forward to a Sticky End (and the others).

    • Thank you! That’s really kind of you. The first title in that series is The Back Passage, which introduces Mitch and Morgan and also seems to be the most popular of the lot. All best, Rupert/James

  2. Gibner Irmigstad

    I started on The Back Passage this morning on my way to work, and have been chortling all day over the image of a “motorized banana”. Splendid.

  3. Gibner Irmigstad

    At the risk of sounding like a deranged groupie, thanks for Back Passage, I loved it! Am now ploughing into Sticky End; wrong order but nevermind, still thoroughly enjoyable. Your Mitch books are funny, sexy and very well-written and are providing me with a MOST welcome break from other, more strenuous reading (I mean that as a compliment). Also recently nabbed a copy of Service Wash – that’ll follow after I finally get around to reading Larry Kramer (I reads ’em in the order I buys ’em, unless I’m required to do otherwise by work/study/etc.).

    You have a Dickens column elsewhere on this site, in which you mention that you discovered classical music recently … welcome aboard! Anyone who survives a Mahler symphony straight off the blocks, and wants to come back for more, is off to an exceedingly good start. I would rate that on a par with reading War and Peace or Les Mis as your first novel. Coincidentally, I have only (to my shame, on the slimey side of 40) recently read my first Dickens novel. Great Expectations, and I loved it, though I have a creeping suspicion that Miss Havisham appeals in way she really, really shouldn’t. Speaking of Victorian things, have you seen Ripper St on the tv and if so what did you think of it?

    Good luck with the listening!

  4. Hi there, glad you liked The Back Passage. It’s the most popular of the lot, in fact it might be the most popular thing I ever wrote! And well done for finding the stuff about Mahler, which I wrote for a website called Polari. It wasn’t exactly a recent discovery to be honest – it was in my early 30s and that’s now quite a long time ago. So tell me – who are you, what do you do and so on?
    PS haven’t watched Ripper Street, it just didn’t appeal despite whatsisname.

    • Gibner Irmigstad

      Yes, well, I have to tell you that whatsisname IS rather watchable, especially in that gorgeous suit and big hat. I work in music publishing, which sadly is much less exciting than everyone assumes it must be. Most of life has been (and continues to be) taken up with classical music, but there’s a lot of reading stuffed in there as well. The pseudonym is a character from the memoires of a gent who worked in my same line of business; in real life they call me Bruce. Which dates me (once I admit also to being antipodean) precisely to the 1960s, during which time that name was (a) extremely popular and (b) reviled by so many comedians. I landed on your 100-books-list with great curiosity, and doff my hat to you for being so widely- and deeply-read. Life is shared with the world’s most patient and forgiving man (and two cats) and your Mitch books just might be my sneaky way to get him to start reading fiction (he is of our vintage and has spurned fiction since boyhood … but I caught him sneaking a peak at Sticky End so there’s hope yet). Cheers.

  5. Chris Palmer

    I just wanted to say how much i enjoyed the mitch mitchell novels.
    I think they were artistically written and i enjoyed reading about a different time period and also the characterisations of love lust and acceptance and even denial (stubborn)

    • Thank you very much, Chris! There’s a new James Lear novel coming out in the summer called The Hardest Thing, introducing a new hero called Dan Stagg – contemporary thriller with lots of the usual sex. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as you like the Mitch books!

  6. Jonathan

    Just finished the Hardest Thing and like your other books thoroughly enjoyed it. Pleased to see there will be another next year. When I get back from my holiday will try a Rupert Smith. Again a great read thanks. Jonathan

  7. elaineyeoh

    Will the next Dan Stagg be a sequel? I’d like to see how Dan copes with the new man in his life and heart. Is he going to carve out a new career or will he continue to eke out a living taking one odd job to another (Jodi isn’t exactly low-maintenance). I’d like to know the effect Jodi’s brain hemorrhage and the recent events have on him and his future with Dan.

    I’d like to see Dan and Jodi move out of Jodi’s Dad’s house and into their own home so that Dan won’t have to share the couch with the other biting critters that have taken up residence there.

  8. David

    Greedy boy that I am I am currently into two of your novels at the same time! ‘Man’s World’ and ‘The Low Road’….both brilliant reads! Sexy, funny, and – in the words of another of your reviewers – “cheerfully vulgar” (which I assume refers to the fact that you call a male member a ‘cock’ rather than a ‘penis’!!!) I’d love to know how to get stated writing an erotic novel…do you ever run masterclasses?!

    • Blimey you’re a sucker for punishment. Glad you’re enjoying them. I don’t run classes but I’ve written on the subject, or been interviewed, a few times so a bit of a google search should give you a few tips.

    • Hi David. Glad you’re enjoying my stuff – thank you very much! I always start my books with a good solid plot, usually influenced by some book I’ve read eg Agatha Christie or whatever, then I think of ways to introduce loads of sex that is somehow integral to the story.

  9. Marco

    Will there be a sequel to The Hardest Thing?
    Hugs, Marco

    • Yes, coming up next year. I just finished the first draft and will be revising and submitting in Sept/Oct. It’s called STRAIGHT UP and it takes Dan on another adventure, and continues the story of his relationship(s)…

  10. Chum

    Found The Secret Tunnel book by an accident. Wow!!!! it ticked all the boxes. I am going back to the book shop to get all the rest of the books of James Lear.

  11. nickchops

    I’m not even sure how I stumbled on them, but your James Lear books have become a regular read-on-the-plane guilty pleasure when travelling for work. There’s something so satisfying about waiting for a connecting flight in an airport cafe of a particularly homophobic country, and quietly absorbing such entertaining filth! The Secret Tunnel was by far my favourite. The “morse code” bit is one of the most brilliantly absurd things I’ve read in quite some time. Well done.

  12. Like the previous commentator, I can’t remember where I heard about your books, but I’m so pleased I did. I have just started The Secret Tunnel, having devoured The Back Passage. Funny, absurd and naughty – my favourite kind of read. Looking forward to the Dan Stagg books next. Please keep them coming.

  13. Bo

    How are you progressing on Stagg?

  14. Lee

    Hi there, I was wondering how many books do you have planned for Dan Stagg? Also I saw you are writing a new Mitchell book, will it be the start of another trilogy or just at extension from trilogy to quartet?


    • Hi Lee, thanks for getting in touch. I’ll keep writing Lear as long as publishers and readers want it. Maybe another couple for Dan Stagg. the new Mitch Mitchell, which I’m writing now, is pretty much a continuation of his adventures but it’s moved on from the relationship with Morgan that dominated the first three. He’s trying to make sense of his life now, but it’s still good fun with loads of sex, much lighter and brighter than the Dan Stagg stuff.

  15. Ian Goodwin-Reeves

    I am just over half way through reading The Hardest Thing. The quality of the writing and the power it has to draw me in ever deeper has inspired me to search out other books by ‘James Lear’, which is a far from common experience. The ability to paint pictures of such clarity and generate emotions so strong within places the author in the elitest group of authors in my collection.

    • Thank you Ian! That’s very kind. There’s more from Dan Stagg later this year in a novel called Straight Up, and I’m just completing another one featuring the detective Mitch Mitchell for next year. All best! Rupert

  16. Jonathan Willmott

    Looking forward to the next Dan Stagg very much – your books are always such an enjoyable read whether a James Lear or Rupert Smith and the promise of another is good news for 2016. Best wishes Jonathan

    • Thanks Jonathan! The new Dan Stagg will be out in September, and I’m just finishing off a new Mitch Mitchell (in fact I’m sitting her scratching my head over the denouement, it’s too bloody complicated…) Rx

  17. Jonathan Willmott

    Dan Stagg already on order and sure the denouement for the Mitch Mitchell will be just right !

  18. Janet

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your Mitch Mitchell novels. You have inspired me to have a go at writing erotic fiction myself. Thank you!

  19. You’re by far the sexiest writer. 😉

  20. Ildi

    Can I just tell You how much I loved The Palace of Varieties? It was a wonderful read, the absolutely best of Yours! Written in a beautiful and sophisticated style worthy of prize winning literature and copious amounts of dirty dirty gay sex, thus my kind of favourite combination. I’ve read you might write a sequel, well, I really hope you do, I guess your fans would be delighted. Thank You: Ildi

    • Thank you Ildi! What a lovely comment. I’m so glad you like Palace of Varieties, it’s certainly one of my favourites. I would love to write a sequel one day, but with the precarious state of the publishing business that might not be any time soon! Best, James

  21. Bruce

    Thanks for the Dan Stagg books which I read over the Xmas break. I got hooked on these via the audiobooks which use wonderfully, suitably gruff American voice actors who do a superb job (imho) of realising your ex-marine horndog. As with the Mitch Mitchell books I find myself hooting with laughter on the tube, inhaling my coffee by accident at Pret, and admiring your ability to balance pure smut with very well-worded, literate narration. I’m not unadjacent to a bit of erotica but I wish the bookstores had a separate category for this kind of book which is very well-written sex located within a very well-crafted novel. Please keep Dan coming, as it were … we’re greedy for more (and, by your description, there’s plenty of him to go around surely?).

  22. Zhane

    I’ve loved reading the Mitch Mitchell series and have now read them all. I currently have all of the books on my iPad and regularly check Apple Books for new releases but have noticed (at least in Australia) that all James Lear novels are missing from the store and only the audiobooks available. Not knowing what happens behind the scenes I was wondering if you might know why all of your books bar the German versions are now no longer on Apple Books?

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