Comment and Contact

You can contact Tim Hannigan at

You can contact the History Press at

If you have any comments or questions about Murder in the Hindu Kush, or about George Hayward, you’re welcome to leave them below.


29 responses to “Comment and Contact

  1. Can’t wait for the publication, Tim! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. Envious of your travels, of course. I’ll put a link to your book on my Hayward pages…

  2. Jim,
    I hope you enjoy it, and many thanks for the link! I think you’ll have to wait until June for the US release (if that’s where you are), though perhaps you were able to order direct from the UK?

    I had, of course, seen your very nice pages before – for a long time they were just about the only thing that came up when you typed “George Hayward” + “Great Game” into Google…

  3. Tim, got the book last week – it looks very good! I’m busy with family stuff and other ‘summer in the US’ activities, but I try to get about 10 pages a day in. I did notice one VERY SLIGHT error, which may be due to US/UK spelling differences, though. Chapter 3, on page 46, (of my edition, anyway) – in the paragraphs about our nutty friend Alexander Gardner – you write “The Sikhs have long prided themselves as a marshal/ race.” Don’t you mean martial race? That’s the way we’d spell it over here anyway.

    Looking forward to rest of the book.
    Cheers, Jim

  4. Hi Jim,
    You’re absolutely right – that’s an error. Somehow that one snuck through my own multiple read-throughs, a very solid read-through from an editor friend (who picked up several similar things), and then the publisher’s own editing! Thanks – noted for any future editions!

    Do keep an eye out for any more on your way through – hope you enjoy the rest of it amidst the summer family fun…

  5. Oops…another…Page 65 – near the bottom. Last paragraph, about Rawlinson’s address to the RGS – I’m sure the date you mean is November,1868, not 1898.

  6. dang… yep, that’s another one. I should have sent the manuscript to you for checking – you’re good!
    Thanks, keep ’em coming!

  7. Cynny Sharp

    Tim hello from Dorset!
    I will be ordering the book shortly, having visited George Hayward’s grave at Gilgit last month, where I planted a British Legion wooden cross and poppy and of course remembered him for a few silent minutes.
    How I wish I were a man and able to revisit that remarkable part of the world endlessly……ye Gods they were brave.
    Good luck indeed and thank you.
    Cynny Sharp

  8. Hi Cynny,
    Glad you were able to visit the graveyard so recently. It’s a tranquil yet melancholy spot in the heart of Gilgit, with some other interesting and poignant internees besides Hayward.
    Hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Pakistan – and hope you enjoy the book too…

    (btw, I’ve met a surprisingly large number of solo women travellers in northern Pakistan over the years, and though they certainly need to be fairly tough, most of them seem to sing the praises of the place, and mention certain advantages – treated as an “honorary man” for travel purposes, but still able to have far more contact with local women, even within their own homes, than male travellers. That’s now, mind you; I don’t think there were many intrepid Victorian memsahibs stepping into the Central Asian wilds in Hayward’s era!)

    Thanks for the message!

  9. Hey Tim – had to put the book down for a while, but I’m back at it. And sorry – I found another “ooops”…
    Chapter 6, first para, second sentance – “another RAPPORT ricocheted” – don’t you mean “another REPORT ricocheted”.. ?

    I hope we will still have good rapport after this.. 🙂 Book is great though! Now you need to do one on the pundit Mirza!

  10. Hey Jim,
    Absolutely no complaints on my side if you keep the typos coming – they need to be noted down for any future editions, and you evidently have a very sharp eye! There’s an editor somewhere who needs a thrashing! 😉

    On the Mirza, yes, he’s yet another fascinating character – the closer you look at 19th Century Central Asia, the more of them come crawling out of the crevices.
    He could definitely find a place on my list for future treatments (though I think he’d be even more slippery than Hayward to pin down). But the two who I’m most tempted by are Gardner, just because he’s so fabulously roguish, and Dr Leitner, because he’s such a wonderfully comic figure…

    Glad you’re enjoying it!

  11. Yes, Gardner NEEDS a treatment – but as you’ve noted in MITHK, it would be a real task to separate truth from fiction with him, and with the ‘original’ papers probably lost forever. By the way, as an odd coincidence, I grew up in the town where Josiah Harlan was born and raised, and his long-thought-lost manuscripts were discovered in the Chester County Historical Society basement by Ben McIntyre while he was researching our American “Prince of Ghor”.

  12. The other slightly alarming aspect for anyone considering writing about Gardner is the rumour of the curse surrounding his tale! Those who handled his papers had a tendency to end up dead!

    That is an interesting coincidence about Harlan – as far as I’m aware there weren’t any significant Great Gamers from my part of the world (Cornwall).
    We’re a salty, sea-going lot, who generally did our exploring in ships…

  13. Another very slight ooops – Chapter 7, pg 144, last paragraph. Sentence reads ‘…on 13 December 1869 at the RGS met in London…” I think it should be “AS the RGS met in London…”, right?

    I guess I should have been an editor instead of a dopey computer guy… 🙂

  14. Hah! I’d already got that one, Jim!
    But yes, you definitely would make a great eagle-eyed editor!

  15. Well, I finally sat down and finished the book – a joy to read and a very hearty slap-on-the-back to you, Tim – it ties together all the various tales and fragments that I read about in Hopkirk, Keay, Meyer, and all the rest (even Macdonald Fraser’s Flashman!). I just counted in my library here, and I have over 115 volumes devoted to Central Asia, northern India, and the general area – not counting the 15 or so I have on K2! One prize is a first edition of Fred Robert’s “41 years In India”. I have several travelogues from the early 20th century, such as Taylor’s “Library of Travel-Central Asia”, and a few from Aurel Stein, Sven Hedin, Younghusband, and of course a couple of volumes from Lowell Thomas, Richard Halliburton, and Harold Lamb. Your book will occupy a distinctive place among them all. I’m going to have to re-open and finish Waller’s “The Pundits” to find out more about the Mirza now, too.

    One or two last points though – you referred to Nanga Parbat in chapter 7 as “The Naked Mountain”, which falls in with the way I’ve seen it described – but then later in the book as the “Killer Mountain”, which, by most accounts, is a more commonly accepted nickname for K2. Maybe just artistic license?

    Then in Chapter 9, just after the quoted account of the Darkot headman by Gufar Khan on page 207, you write “While all these grizzly details were being uncovered…”. Perhaps you were thinking of the Russian Bear, but over here, they would be “grisly” details. ??

    Anyway, minor typos notwithstanding, I loved the book and I’m sure in a couple of years I’ll pull it from my shelves and read it again. I must go now to Amazon and publish a glowing review, as well.

    Take care, and keep me up to date with any other Central Asian musings you find yourself making.


  16. Jim,
    It is an absolute delight to get such a warm response to the book from a bone fide Central Asia/Great Game aficionado. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it; thanks for the kind words (and thanks for the wonderful Amazon review too!).

    I’d certainly like to have a rifle through your library. My own collection is pretty broad, and as well as various early 20th century travelogues gleaned from second hand bookshops, I’ve got a good few Indian and Pakistani reprints of various colonial volumes (Sang-e-Meel in Lahore have a fine line in facsimiles with luridly inappropriate covers). I also make ample use of the UK library system. But I’m sure there must be a few gems in your collection that I’ve not seen.

    Very many sincere thanks for the eagle-eyed highlighting of all those typos and literals. They are, of course, my mistakes, but they really should have been picked up during the editing stage – though the fact that editing is not what it once was is a common complaint across the publishing industry.
    They’ve all been duly noted for rectification in any future editions, including that grisly grizzler…

    However, it is with a certain amount of relief that I am able to claim one small victory – the world’s ninth highest mountain is generally known as Nanga Parbat, its Kashmiri name, which does indeed mean “Naked Mountain”. Locals living on the slopes call it Diamar (which may contain a corruption of “meru”, suggesting a Hindu/Buddhist connection).
    But in mountaineering circles the peak is definitely often referred to as “the Killer Mountain”. In the early decades of serious mountaineering it had an atrocious reputation, and racked up a terrible death toll (mostly amongst German alpinists, it seems), before the Austrian Hermann Buhl (whose Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage would be a worthy addition to your library, if it’s not there already) finally bagged the summit.
    K2 certainly gets called “the Killer Mountain” too, but it shares the moniker with Nanga Parbat, and I have a feeling that the latter has the original claim to the name.
    You’ll have to let me have that one mister! 😉

    Thanks again for all the comments!

  17. Both are certainly not your run-of-the-mill hill, I’ll give you that. And I defer to your usage, of course.

    I’ve got Buhl’s book around here somewhere I think – but my main interest in the mountain area is K2 – not sure why but it’s always fascinated me. I have a signed copy of Bill Bate’s (US, 1938 & 1953 ) book, most of Jim Curran’s books on K2, and Desio’s 1954 book of the Italian summit expedition.

    Anyway , not to appear officious (if that’s the word I’m looking for..maybe it’s “presumptuous” ?? ) but it you’d like, I’ll be happy to digitally index my library and post pics of the book spines on my site – I’ll send along a link and if there’s any tome you would like to see, just let me know. That’s be much better than me writing down every single title…

    I’ve used Vedam Books in New Delhi a lot but most of my stuff I found in the antique book sections of Amazon and eBay, or even Alibris here and there. I’m sure it can’t compare to a library like your’s that’s centered in the B. Isles and/or East Indies themselves.

    Must run – time to barbeque chicken on the grill for dinner.

  18. Hope the barbeque chicken was tasty!
    I can understand the attraction of K2 – there seems something far more enigmatic – not to mention downright scary – about it than Everest. One of the absolute highlights of the entire research process for Murder in the Hindu Kush was as I sat at a desk in the RGS basement, peering at Hayward’s map and altitude table from his November 1868 survey in the Kun Lun, and realised that there was something strangely familiar about that 28,000-foot “Snowy Peak” on the edge of his chart… Was it? Surely it must be?
    I had to go and get a modern atlas of the region off the shelf to check, and to my delight yes it was! It was K2 from the back, not that Hayward or anyone until me seems to have realised as much!
    These are the small moments of absolute joy that you stumble upon from time to time in any research project…

    It would be absolutely great if you did post a “library shelf” image of your book collection, yes – I’d love to have a browse that way.

    Also, could I be ever so cheeky and ask you to repost your review on They don’t always automatically cross-post reviews from the US site, and the UK is where the main market is at the moment. I’ll owe you a beer if you do! 😉

  19. Tim, be happy to repost on Amazon-UK site. Been busy the last few weeks with other stuff (e.g. prepping for the Hurricane that came up the east coast of the US where I live…) but I’ll get to it as soon as I can. In touch soon.

  20. Clive Hodges

    Tim, this looks very interesting and is, in many ways, the book I wanted to write! Your book is winging its way to me now.
    I am nearing the completion of my PhD thesis which considers the interaction between politics and exploration in Eastern/Chinese Turkestan between 1865 and 1908.
    I deal with Hayward (and Shaw, Forsyth etc.) in the early chapters of my study and I have, too, trawled through L/PS and the RGS archives. I took a particular interest in Rawlinson’s support of Hayward’s activities as a challenge to Lawrence’s policy of ‘Masterly Inactivity.’
    Hayward was certainly one of the most colourful characters to cross the Karakoram during this period and I am sure your book will help me throw more light on his maverick character.

    If you are interested I will send you a copy of my thesis which I hope to complete in 2012. Thereafter, I may have to content myself with a biography of that other free spirit of the Great Game, Andrew Dalgleish.

  21. Hope you enjoy the book, Clive. And yes, I’d be very interested to read your thesis.
    And Dalgleish is another of those fascinating – and largely forgotten – players. A biography of him would certainly be worthwhile!

  22. Really enjoyed the book , I’ll be recommending it to several friends who are similarly interested in the Great Game . I stayed in the Medina in Gilgit in 1998 and again in 2008 and have very fond memories of their hospitality. Are they surviving as a guest house ? As an Ulsterman I’d love to see a decent biography of John Nicholson the “great imperial psychopath” I’d go back to northern Pakistan in an instant if I could get other people interested in the more remote treks . Check out my photos of the area on

  23. Hey Alan,
    Delighted to hear that you enjoyed the book, as a fan of both the Great Game, and northern Pakistan – sounds like you’re the ideal reader…

    The Madina survived in its old form until last year, but the sword that has been dangling over their heads for the last decade finally fell – Yaqoob never bought the land on which the guesthouse was built back when he should in the boom times of the 1990s. It ended up being a prime development spot in a growing city, while tourism collapsed.
    Last year the owner finally decided to sell, for an astonishingly high price. Yaqoob and Co tried to raise cash to buy it themselves through a facebook campaign, and did get a reasonable number of donations from the various travellers who have fallen in love with them and their place over the years (including one from me).
    However, as they clearly weren’t going to reach the total, they came up with a new, and to be honest, better plan – they have relocated to another site, what used to be the Japanese-run Tourist Guesthouse out near the airport, which had been standing derelict and abandoned since the collapse of tourism post-9/11…
    Anyway, they have moved in and are gradually putting it into working order, and taking in guests while they’re at it. It’s a fine spot, and the garden is magnificent. The Facebook campaign is still running, and they are certainly a worthy cause. Yaqoob is one of the kindest, most guileless and unworldly people I’ve ever met, and the most lovably useless businessmen on the planet!!/groups/madinagilgit/

    As for John Nicholson, I’m sure you already know it, but he does get a good showing in Charles Allen’s Soldier Sahibs, though I would say, in tones of very respectful criticism, that Allen doesn’t give these swaggering imperial archetypes quite as rough a ride as they deserve in the post-colonial era…
    Maybe I’ll get around to him myself one day, but currently two bit players from Hayward’s tale are much higher on my biographer’s wish-list – the magnificent Alexander Gardner (though where on earth to start with that one?), and Dr Leitner Etc, who I absolutely love!

    I’ll take a look at your pics once my internet connection stops playing up!
    And I say get yourself back to Pakistan as soon as you can!
    Thanks for the comment…

  24. Hey Tim, long time…finally got around to taking pics of my CentAsia library shelves, put t/nails up on a page in my Central Asia section. If there’s anything at all of interest in a lending-library sort of manner, let me know.

  25. Clive Hodges

    Hello again Tim,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your book, which helped fill in a few gaps in my thesis (duly cited of course).
    There was just one minor thing I noticed which you may want to revise – The RGS didn’t move into its current premises at Kensington Gore until 1913 – its home was 1 Savile Row from 1870 – 1913 and prior to this it met at 15 Whitehall Place.

    Best wishes

    • Hi Clive,

      I’m delighted that you enjoyed it – and yet more delighted that it proved at all useful for your thesis (which I’d love to have a read of at some point, by the way).

      Re. the location of the RGS headquarters – yes; I’d already been made aware of that after publication, and it is down in my list of errors (most of which are just typos). It was a schoolboy error really, but fortunately not one that affects substance. The only similar issue I’m aware of is that I have Hayward travel to Kashmir over the Siwaliks and across the Chenab, as if he were following the modern Jammu-Srinagar road (which was in use at the time, but not as commonly as today). Of course, there was no Line of Control in the 19th century, and he would much more likely have travelled the main road along the line of the Jhelum, especially if he was coming up from Murree. Fortunately this too doesn’t affect substance, but I will certainly amend both points if there is ever another edition (sadly I didn’t get chance to highlight these and the typos before the Indian paperback edition was published).

      Thanks again for the comment!

  26. Tim
    What a scorcher of a romp (or two)! Of absolutely UltraHimalayan audacity.He is one of those who, having once set eyes on the high mountains of the region, are constitutionally incapable of negating the magnetic pull of these ranges. Congratulations on a well constructed story given the scant material left behind by the man himself.

    And hats off to his anonymous Ladakhis, Pashtuns and the Munshi who kept up with his crazed dashes. Amazing read!

    Just one thing about the “Bhoots’ on pg 70…the clan is more commonly referred to as Bhots or Bhotas or even Bhotias as you traverse east along the hills….and the word bhoot would roughly translate as ‘ghost’ or simply something or time in the past…so the sentence doesn’t jell…unless I am missing something. And of course the Halvidar has to be Havildar…this I am more certain of!

    Please accept heartfelt appreciation for a wonderful little book capturing the elusive, restless spirit of the man, and his times.

    Raipur, India

    PS ; Tim it’s a good thing you stopped being a chef when you did!

    • Hi Tony!

      Thanks so much for your encouraging message – that really made my day. I’m absolutely delighted that you enjoyed the book and appreciated Hayward’s story – and that of his nameless local companions. They tend to get forgotten in such stories. Obviously i had no records of even their names, but I tried at the very least to remind people of their presence.

      Having subsequently worked on projects where the source material was much more fulsome, I’m now inclined to think that I actually had it easy with Hayward: having such scant traces meant that I could focus in on – and then extrapolate out from – every detail he left, rather than having to wade through reams of documents.

      About the “bhoots”, I am aware that this is normally bhot or bhotia. Both Hayward and Shaw, however, spelt it “Bhoot”, and I’m ashamed to say that I kept their outdated spelling for one reason only – to allow myself a cheap, and not very funny, joke about “a pair of old bhoots”. With hindsight that was a silly choice. I hadn’t made the connection with “ghost”. This would be “bhut”, right? I was aware of this term (and of the connected buta-kala in Indonesia), but rather stupidly hadn’t realised that, yes, “bhoot” would actually be the same word!

      As for havildar/halvidar – well spotted; that’s a rather embarrassing error!

      Both are now down on my list for rectification if ever there should be another edition. It’s a shame that the Indian edition was arranged without the UK publisher putting me in touch with the new publisher until after the book had been released – there were lots of little glitches I would have liked to have had the chance to put right before it went to print again.

      But anyway, thanks once again, so much for you kind words and your helpful feedback. I’m glad I stopped being a chef too – it’s a horrible job!


  27. tony raheja

    Thanks Tim. Flattered to have been able to make your day!
    Looking forward to more tales from the hills…Gardeners’ Claims etc..
    Have a nice day

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