Graham Donnelly


Graham Donnelly's Books

ISBN: 9781913208202


Unwritten Rules

Feb. 28, 2020

The year is 1962. Anthony Fernard is a civil servant with a minor but responsible position in the Home Office. He has a steady job and a reasonably happy home life. His run of the mill routine is enlivened by a mild entanglement with a young woman and a tendency to do things his own way at work, whatever the official line.

Through his inside contacts at the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence he learns how extremely serious the Cuban Missile Crisis has become, with the United States and the Soviet Union in a deadly game of chicken Confronting the possibility of only a day or two until a nuclear war will devastate the world he flings caution to the wind, embarking on a love affair and making a reckless decision which will compromise his position and draw him into a world of blackmail and espionage.

At first he enjoys the excitement of his new impulsive and unpredictable life against the background of a Britain rocked by a succession of security and ministerial crises. But as events unfold he gradually realises that the consequences for himself and those he cares about are full of unforeseen and potentially dangerous outcomes. How will Anthony resolve his dilemmas as his life threatens to spin out of his control?

Graham Donnelly now lives in Colchester but was brought up in Homerton, London. He has a degree in Economics from the University of London and his professional background is in government service, including the Home Office, merchant and international banking and also lecturing in economics and management. His first historical thriller, Mussolini’s Chest was published by Book Guild in January 2019. 

ISBN: 9781912575657


Mussolini’s Chest

Jan. 28, 2019

Luca Morenelli is an Italian café owner in London interned by the British at the outbreak of war who, about to be sent to Canada, escapes and plans to hide in Ireland until the war is over. However, he soon discovers the liberation of starting a new life with a return to his old career as a waiter in a prestigious restaurant, a new woman with no strings attached and undercover work for the Italian secret service. He even adopts a new identity as an Englishman as part of his cover. He becomes literally a new man and wills himself to forget his past, foregoing his chances to return freely to Britain or Italy.

But then, at the end of the war, when all is going well for him and he is developing a closeness to a new woman in his life, he feels impelled to return home to sort out his affairs; his marriage, his business and the large chest of valuables he had stored for his wealthy aunt for the duration of the war – what he had referred to as “Mussolini’s Chest”.

Luca gives up his new career and turns his back on a woman who offers him love to go back to England. When he returns he finds that he has been chasing a mirage; nothing is how he left it and even the chest has disappeared... Can he restore the chest and get his life back on track?

Graham Donnelly lives in Colchester. Born and raised in London, he has a professional background in government service, international banking and lecturing in economics. Graham was brought up in the Homerton area, where much of the action in the book takes place, although the area isn’t specified by name. He is descended from the Halpin family, a well-known family of hoteliers in Dublin, where the action is also located. The book is based on true events as related to Graham by his now 97-year old mother, who knew the café owner personally. He says “the sending of a chest from Italy for safe-keeping, the internment of the café owner and the eventual loss of the chest during the war are all factual.”

ISBN: 9781914471032


Take One Life

Feb. 28, 2022

April, 1944. A man is waiting to assassinate a prominent figure.

He is not motivated by revenge or profit but by his belief that this one act of violence will save many lives and secure a greater peace for the whole of Europe. How have circumstances and experiences conspired to lead this apparently ordinary man to believe that what he is about to do is both essential and justified?

William Lyus had set out to make his way in the world against the background of the economic and political upheaval of the interwar years. Despite his best intentions, he’s caught up in a major financial swindle, experiences personal tragedy, and his career hopes are dashed. But it is these events that lead him to revisit the idealism of his youth, becoming more active in the political ferment of the 1930s.

As the Second World War nears its close and he becomes ever convinced that he, almost alone, sees what must be done to ensure a just outcome to the War, will he be able to fulfil his destiny?

Graham Donnelly now lives near Colchester but was brought up in Homerton, London. He has a degree in Economics from the University of London and his professional background is in government service, including the Home Office, merchant and international banking and lecturing in economics and management. He was active in politics in his youth and has retained a strong interest in political and socio-economic history; a fact reflected in his novels. Take One Life is his third novel, and he is also the author of Mussolini’s Chest and Unwritten Rules.