BooksInformation on books by Sheldon Smith

Here you can find information about books that I have written. The books are divided into fiction (novels) and non-fiction (travel books and text books for academic English). There are links to additional pages, including information on characters and themes for the novels, as well as extracts from the books. You can also read something on writing novels at the end.


Delhi Deadlines

A washed out journalist, posted to India to cover a bloody election campaign, uncovers truths about his son's life - and death - in the country, truths that test loyalties forged in the war zones of Bosnia and Rwanda. A fiercely evocative narrative of modern-day India, filled with the clamour and hot stinks of its capital, this is a novel of death woven through with life.

"The writing is very very good... the mysteriousness of Wyndham's death and the narrator's involvement will entice the reader to keep reading." - 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Expert Reviewer

On the following pages you can read more about Delhi Deadlines:
    •   read the first chapter of the novel
    •   find out about the main characters
    •   see word clouds for the novel
    •   listen to a podcast of the novel

Virtually cover image Virtually

A computer technician at Virtual Enterprises, one of the world's largest Virtual Reality companies, J. lives a fairly ordinary life. Except for the prescient dreams he has started having. Foretastes of the future. Visions of death. As he tries to save those he loves from the future he has seen, J. is forced to choose sides: the company he has loyally served for years, whose memory rewriting algorithms might have warped his mind and created his visions; or The Friends of the Constitution, the terrorist group seeking J.'s help to unleash their promised 'reign of terror' against Virtual Enterprises and the evil of VR. A simple computer technician, hoarder of late twentieth century appliances, clairvoyant, telepath, mental health patient: just who is the real J.? Which reality is real? And does it really matter?

On the following pages you can find out more about the novel Virtually:
    •   read the beginning of the novel
    •   learn about some of the main themes of the novel
    •   see a word cloud for the novel

Dead Men's Fingers cover image Dead Men's Fingers

A young girl, molested and killed. One man, convicted of her death. Five lives, tangled in the web of this horrific crime... The release of Elizabeth Connor's killer, his conviction quashed on a technicality, reopens old wounds in those touched by the tragedy of the girl's death. Hate, revenge, indifference, murder: lives which were newly built are once again faced with horrors which are not of their making.

On the following pages you can find out more about the novel Dead Men's Fingers:
    •   read the beginning of the novel


River of Life cover image A River of Life

Buses, trains, sacred cows, gurus, saddhus, holi and more: like the subcontinent itself, this travelogue is chock-full of life and incident. Book 1, Travels in the North, covers my journey overland across the Gangetic Plain, from Delhi in the north to Calcutta in the east, threading a way through the cities of Agra, Gwalior, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, and Patna. Book 2, A Tour of the South, traces a great V on the map of the country, beginning in Calcutta, dipping down to the southernmost tip of the Subcontinent, then sweeping up again to Bombay, with the objective of visiting every state that lies between those two great cities, including the real heartland of the South, the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. The encounters with Indians of all walks of life are countered by historical observations and anecdotes, setting modern India side by side with its historical counterpart, creating a rich background for travels through this most beguiling and fascinating of countries.

You can read extracts adapted from this book in the River of Life section of the website. You can also see a word cloud for the book.

Text Books

Textbooks for Academic English - more on this later!

On writing novels

All told, I've written five novels. They were written at a time in my life when I had more time, because I made time: no wife, no kids, no steady job, just the odd temp job to support my travels. The first two novels I wrote, Shadows in the Mind, about a nebulous evil menacing a seaside town, and The Giotto Crucifix, about a schizophrenic who finds a body and sets about trying to find the killer, were simply a writer learning his craft, though some of the places and themes would recur in later novels. My third novel, Dead Men's Fingers, which revisited the seaside landscape of my first novel, was the first book I wrote that I considered to be a good book. The first section of the novel is included in this website. Although there has been a lot of writing since, and there are some flaws in the style, I still find it to be a powerful work. My fourth novel, Virtually, was a return to my roots, inasmuch as it is a science fiction novel. I read widely while writing novels - classics ancient and modern, literature from the UK, the US, and other countries - but I survived my teens reading Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Dick et al (an ABCD of sci-fi). The first stories I wrote, as a teenager, were sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories. To this day, Ray Bradbury and P.K. Dick are among my three favourite authors (Raymond Chandler rounding off the list). The novel Virtually owes a considerable debt to PKD, especially the brilliant Time Out of Joint, which I love for the way much of the novel isn't sci-fi at all, simply a vivid depiction of smalltown 50's America. My fifth novel, Delhi Deadlines, grew from my love of India; a passion so great it also inspired me to write a travel book about the country. It is, I think, my best novel, as well as being the last novel I wrote before changing tack and training as a teacher. Work and family, previously shunted out of my life during my travelling novel-writing bachelor days, now intrude far more. Websites and academic English are these days the main outlets for my creativity, though after more than a decade in the 'middle kingdom', i.e. China, and the myriad of experiences I've had in the country, it is high time I got back to fiction and set some of them down on the page. Watch this space!

Available for purchase now

Buy the e-book version of Delhi Deadlines online via (UK readers), and (North America).

The paperback version is available in the UK from, and in North America from


Below are the main areas of the site.


If you would like to receive a newsletter for the site, please fill out your e-mail address and details below.



First name:



Contact Info  

Feel free to contact me, about the website, writing, academic English, life in China, or anything that takes your fancy. You can reach me at

Sheldon C H Smith Website Copyright © 2012-present by Sheldon C H Smith.