It’s a Kind of Magic by Cambridge author John Phelps

Cambridge author John Phelps has released a new book: a collection of short stories entitled Some kind of magic.

John, a retired journalist with four published novels – agent from hellAnd down CambridgeAnd A world ruled by mice And Vulcan who got to print – In addition to another book of short stories, he says of his latest work: “It’s a collection of short stories that I’ve written over a period – I suppose most since he retired and half of it during the first outbreak of Covid.

John Phelps.  Photo: Keith Hebel
John Phelps. Photo: Keith Hebel

“It’s an eclectic mix and the longest story is just over 10,000 words, and there are some very short ones. They vary in length as well as in genre. There’s a bit of romance, there’s some crime in there, a bit of satire, a bit of humor… There’s a bit of drama.” There’s a ghost story, and I hope there’s something for everyone but it’s not for me to say.”

John, 81, notes that there are 24 stories in total — “and that actually includes a nonfiction poem, which is not strictly a story, but a little poem written during the onset of Covid.” Not to say too much.”

He adds, “The first story is kind of an unusual romance and the second is a cricket romance/drama, and the third story is a story about a boxer I once met…

“Some of the stories are based on experiences and people I’ve known during my life — I’ve been around a bit — and others are pure fantasy. I don’t think I want specifically what comes in what category, I think I’d rather leave the reader guessing.”

Interestingly, three of these stories were written when John was in his twenties. “They were put to one side,” he explains, “and when I collected enough stories to write a book, I revived those stories.”

“I just went through it and tweaked it up a bit and updated it all.”

Does John, a member of the Crime Writers’ Guild who also works as a part-time volunteer usher at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, have more stories “in the bag” for a future volume? He replied, “Not at the moment.” “I have another project in the works but it is still in its early stages.”

[Read more: The Vulcan Who Got into Print: a new whodunnit by Cambridge author John Phelps]

John retired 19 years ago, and since then, along with all his other work, hobbies, and projects, he has worked at a community radio station, writing, presenting, and giving interviews.

His first editorial job, after his initial career in insurance, was as a reporter in the London bureau Sunday Post. Then he moved to Cambridge in 1969.

A Kind of Magic: A Collection of Short Stories Available now from Troubador Publishing Ltd ( or via libraries such as Waterstones.

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