Born in London, I was 15 when I wrote a quiz for the late Jeremy Beadle on the radio station LBC. Two years later, I was the biggest outside contributor to the best-selling Hunter Davies's Bigger Book of British Lists.
On leaving school, I worked as a researcher for Jeremy Beadle for many years. My first books - 50 Fantastic Hits and The Stories Behind Them and TV Sporting Heroes - were published in 1988.
I have since written 23 books, often with a showbusiness theme. I am the author of biographies of Julia Roberts (2003) and Judy Garland (2007); a history of television scandal (TV Babylon in 1997); four editions of a best-selling encyclopaedia of film personality obituaries Fade To Black (2000, 2003, 2005 and 2010, which is published in America and Australia as well as the UK); a guide to the films of Marilyn Monroe (2000); Essex Murders (2007), a book about homicide in that county for which I also took many of the photographs; Assassins And Assassinations (2008), a look at 25 of the most notorious plots; The Arsenal Companion (2008), the first of two books on the north London footballing giants; 501 Most Notorious Crimes (2009) which spent several weeks in the Top 10 of The Sunday Times non-fiction best-seller list; Arsenal On This Day (2009) and Cricket On This Day (2009). The paperback and ebook Assassination! was published in February 2012. A second volume of Cricket On This Day will appear sometime in 2015 or 2016.
On 4 October 2010, three books in a new in-depth trivia series of "Firsts, Lasts & Onlys"® on the subjects of cricket, football and golf were published by Hamlyn. A fourth, on rugby, will be published in 2015. There is a dedicated website for these books and others in the series, which can be found here.
As well as the United Kingdom, my books have been published in Australia and America and I am popular in eastern Europe where my work has appeared in Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Poland. In 2011, 501 Most Notorious Crimes was published in Brazil.
The Mammoth Book Of More Bizarre Crimes (my first collaboration since 1988), written with Robin Odell, will be published in July 2015.
I have contributed to many other books including: Hunter Davies's Bigger Book of British Lists (1982); Poison Pen The Unauthorised Biography of Kitty Kelley by George Carpozi Jr (1992); Clinton Confidential The Climb To Power: The Unauthorised Biography of Bill and Hillary Clinton by George Carpozi Jr (1995); Tom Jones: Close Up by Lucy Ellis and Bryony Sutherland (2000); The Pocket Essential Marx Brothers by Mark Bego (2001), White Slave: The Autobiography by Marco Pierre White and James Steen (2006) and Showbusiness Homicides: An Encyclopedia 1908-2009 by David K. Frasier (2011).
In the mid-1980s, I wrote many of the questions for the television quiz show Pass The Buck (hosted by George Layton for Thames Television). I also wrote a number of unbroadcast shows - you could say I have been involved with more pilots than a kamikaze squadron. Of the shows that did make the air, I wrote for Ultra Quiz (TVS, 1983), Jeremy Beadle's Today's The Day (TV-am, 1984), Today's The Day (BBC, 1995) and University Challenge (Granada for BBC, 1999).
I was the editor of Crime Stories, Man About Town and M-Zone. I have worked for several magazines and newspapers including The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Mail (where for three years I was stand-in editor on the gossip column Wicked Whispers), OK! (where I was a columnist for three years), Sunday Express, Punch (where I was a reporter-feature writer and occasional stand-in deputy editor), Idols, Maxim, For Women, Video World, Hotel & Caterer, City AM (where I was the chief sub editor), thelondonpaper and, most recently Master Detective where I have written "Paul Donnelley's Murder Month", a column on criminal history, since August 2008. I have written more than 700 articles for newspapers, magazines and on-line.