Kamal Shair's book is a classic rags to riches story: the village boy, who with determination and education, achieves business success, wealth, more wealth, and then influence and power. What makes it unusual is that it emanates from the Arab world. Rarely among Arabs have individuals from thoroughly modest backgrounds, with no access to links, networks or connections become truly global commercial players. Shair was born in a small town in what was then Transjordan and dragged himself through school (his mother was illiterate), moved to college in Beirut, then sailed off to America (Michigan and Yale) and returned to the Middle East to create a multinational corporate empire engaged in trade, construction and manufacturing. Dar al Handasah – Arabic for House of Engineers – was founded in a small flat in Beirut and today spans the globe with offices in 37 countries. In its early years, Dar al Handasah fought off competition from established western consultancies to win contracts for prestige engineering throughout the Middle East. Eventually its activities extended further to Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. By not following the usual pattern of patronage and favours Kamal Shair applied a fresh kind of ethic in an environment with a loosely-structured business ethic. In the process he lived through and witnessed at first hand and at close quarters some of the most dramatic events of the modern Arab world. This is quite an extraordinary tale and a very original prism through which to read the turbulent post-World War II history of the Middle East. At the same time we see the growth, despite all the odds, of one of the world’s great engineering and business enterprises in a narrative of epic and inspirational proportions.
It's August 1962, and Colin Crampton, the Brighton Evening Chronicle's crime reporter, is desperate for a front-page story. But it's the silly season for news – and the only tip-off Crampton has is about the disappearance of the seafront's crazy-golf proprietor, Arnold Trumper. Crampton thinks the story is about as useful as a set of concrete water-wings. But when he learns that Trumper's vanishing act is linked to an unsolved murder, he scents a front-page scoop. Powerful people are determined Crampton must not discover the truth. But he is quite prepared to use every newspaper scam in the book to land his exclusive. The trouble is it's his girlfriend, feisty Australian Shirley, who too often ends up on the wrong end when a scam goes wrong. Crampton has to overcome dangers they never mentioned at journalism school before he writes his story. Headline Murder will keep you guessing – and smiling – right to the last page.
FIRST, the saucy film of a nude woman bathing is stolen from a What the Butler Saw machine on Brighton’s Palace Pier. NEXT, the pier’s night-watchman is murdered - his body found in the coconut shy. COLIN CRAMPTON, ace reporter on the Evening Chronicle, senses a scoop when he’s the only journalist to discover a link between the two crimes. HE UNCOVERS a 50-year feud between twin sisters - one a screen siren from the days of silent movies, the other the haughty wife of an aristocrat. BUT COLIN’S investigation spirals out of control - as he RISKS HIS LIFE to land the biggest story of his career. STOP PRESS MURDER, a Swinging Sixties mystery, has more twists and turns than a country lane. It will keep you guessing - and laughing - right to the last page.