Masterplan

I often wonder what architects think of this column. Is praise valued and criticism taken onboard? They can be a touchy bunch sometimes.

One man who has just made my day is Brighton-based author Charles Bancroft who has told me that my very comments about his 2009 hit novel The Architect influenced his work on the newly-released sequel, Masterplan.

It’s a tale of secret identity, international travel and world-class architecture – but that’s just the life of the author whose real name I have sworn not to reveal. ‘Bancroft’ runs a fascinating architectural empire from his office in the centre of Brighton and he lives in Hove.

The Architect followed the exploits of Rob Gilbert, a top London architect fighting to clear his name when one of his signature buildings mysteriously collapses. Gilbert returns in Masterplan but this time he dices with politicians and scientists rather than gangsters. Once again, alcohol and women feature throughout.

One famous local author who often mentions Brighton and Hove in his scary books is Peter James. Having been sent a rather blurred photograph of a man resembling him, I would not have been surprised at all if Peter had turned out to be my mystery lunch guest with whom I met to talk about the new book. It turned out though that I knew this interesting character from somewhere else entirely (but I am not saying where – sorry!).

My one criticism of The Architect was that Brighton did not feature. It was a cracking read on the whole but, bearing in mind the situation of the author, I was hoping that my beloved Brighton would pop up at some point. It didn’t though.

Bancroft did listen and I am glad. Masterplan’s grand finale, where several plot lines coming crashing together, involves a famous Brighton landmark. To find out which, you’ll just have to read the book (and it’s not anything too obvious like the Royal Pavilion or Palace Pier I was pleased to discover).

Masterplan is flying off the shelves all around the world and I can only see this franchise getting bigger. The short chapters would translate extremely well to film and the third part of the trilogy involving the forthcoming Olympic Games is now well underway.

So Charles, if you’re reading, don’t forget us in Brighton when you hit the big screen – and remember, no filming in Eastbourne like the new Brighton Rock.