editor's choice



The ability to make people laugh is a great thing – and writers who can do so seemingly effortlessly are worth their weight in gold. Gina Kirkham is one such author, and Constable 1261 Mavis Upton a wonderful protagonist.

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, Mavis’s second outing, hits the ground running. The year is 1999 and Mavis is in court, dealing with the worst of situations:

‘I, Mavis Jane Upton … ace police driver, apprehender of naughty people, lover of crisps (any flavour) and hater of big knickers, had undertaken, albeit unwittingly, the job of arresting my own itinerant, belligerent and delinquent father. A father I hadn’t set eyes on since 1962 when I was four years old.’

And how does anything top that? Well, welcome to planet Mavis.

With a host of hapless characters to deal with, a fiancé, a mutinous teenager, a diva drag queen and a speedy serial flasher on a bike, Mavis’s cup certainly runneth over. And that’s not to mention that she’s coping with the grief of losing her mum. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink. But there’s always Bette Midler …

Kirkham’s Mavis is a funny, courageous heroine, endowed with a great spirit, an irreverent and bottomless humour and an indomitable will to survive whatever life throws at her. And there’s a lot.

The author, like her character, was a career policewoman. Following her retirement, she had an ‘epiphany’ to put ‘pen to paper’ and write a book.

Mavis is me!’ Kirkham says. ‘… I tried very hard in the beginning to create her differently, but it didn’t work … my own voice kept shouting louder than any voice I could dream up for Mavis.’

And what a voice.


Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham is published by Urbane Publications

| 19 July 2018 | paperback | £8.99 | other editions available |

For more information about Gina and Mavis, see ‘Meet Gina Kirkham: The Literary Lounge Q&A


Gina Kirkham on Mavis’s soundtrack: ‘Bette Midler, so either “The Rose” or “Wind Beneath my Wings” (I’m sure Mavis would approve). Opening soundtrack for the film [starring Sheridan Smith in the “Field of Dreams”‘ version] would have to be “With A Little Help From My Friends” by Wet, Wet, Wet as that always makes me think of the special camaraderie we have in the Police … and it’s very 1980s.’

Acknowledgements: Quoted text p. 9 Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot © Gina Kirkham 2018. Last paragraph and music quote from ‘Meet Gina Markham: The Literary Lounge Q&A’. This review and the Q&A are published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for organising it and to the publisher for supplying a review copy. Cover image ‘Whiskey in my tea cup, no …’ © The Literary Shed 2018. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.


Also of interest:Chris Whitaker’s mad, mad world – Tall Oaks’; ‘The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;We should all be feminists’; ‘Beauty in translation – Roxanne Bouchard’s French Canadian noir‘; ‘The Soldier’s Home – Love in Cold Climate’ (Urbane); ‘Staalesen’s Big Sister – a nod to Chandler’; ‘Judge Walden, a sheer delight’; ‘Johana Gustawsson’s Keeper –indie publisher, Orenda, does it again’; ‘Steve and FranDan’s awfully big adventure’ (children’s/humour); ‘Elder’s last stand – John Harvey’s Body and Soul; ‘Jane Harper’s stylish debut – The Dry’; How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original Penguin Ten’.


This review is © 2018 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.