I was thrilled to be asked to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the publication of the eighth in the DI Dylan series: When A Killer Strikes by R.C. Bridgestock which was published on 19 October 2017.
One half of RC Bridgestock, Carol agreed to share with me the important books that shaped her childhood and I hope you’ll agree it’s a fascinating, and for me, full of familiar and much-loved books.
One of my earliest memories is sitting on the woollen carpet, in the Children’s Corner at King Cross Library. It was to the right, inside the door but was cut off from the rest of the library by open book shelves that even I could see over for that reassuring smile from my mum choosing her own library books. I remember feeling safe and warm, those big cast iron radiators the colour of the mahogany woodwork didn’t half blast out some heat! Many-a-time, after a long day at school and the walk from school I recall laying on my tummy on the floor, the smell of old books that I’d pulled from the shelves to surround me and the quietness, the solitude would nearly lull me to sleep. The little solid, wooden chairs that slid underneath a child sized dark wooden table were always shiny and clean. I hung onto my library cards, with pride. The librarian had put my name on them, they belonged to me. I think I loved the books from the library more than I loved the books my mum and dad bought for me. Library time, was my time and space to explore and dream, sitting on that old, worn carpet… I loved the fact that the corners of the books pages were worn and thin from being thumbed so much. The books were alive to me, and the proof was the marks left on them by those who had read the books before me. I could feel in them the time that had passed since they’d read them. And now it was my turn.
My mother loved reading, still does, although her eyes are failing – thank goodness for technology, her iPad her best friend. It was on her knee that I recall being read the Five Little Kittens. I loved that book. I don’t forget the books I read when I was a child. They are burned in my brain, and each has its own scent, its rhythm and beat, which has stayed with me all that time. I remember where and when I read them, their shape, their thickness of the paper, the picture on the cover, if there was one. I even remember if the pages had come loose, or had been torn out and mended by the concerned, diligent librarian, the healer and surgeon of tattered books, it told me it was a much loved story book and one I knew I wanted to read. I even loved the yellowing pages and the stains, but most of all, I loved the notes written in the margins in many strange and different hands, and the drawings, and pictures – they made me smile. I could well imagine a few cross words from mum if I’d have done that. Last year I purchased an original copy of Five Little Kittens, which is in our bookcase and I now read it to our grandchildren.
It’s a simple storyline, mother cat goes to town to do some shopping whilst the kittens try to help clear up at home. It all goes terribly wrong but everything works out fine in the end. It’s beautifully illustrated and the pictures alone tell the story for me without the need for words, although it does have them.
Yes, I had a copy of this book with the self-same cover.
I learnt to read with the help of the Janet and John books, at Warley Road Infant School. Our teacher was a little old lady, who tied her grey hair up in a bun that sat in the nape of her neck. I can’t recall her name but what I do remember was that she was as round as she was tall. If we did well at reading she would let us choose a treat from her rusty old tin, that she kept in the right hand drawer of her desk. A sugar coated pineapple cube, a pear drop, a mint, or a thrupenny bit… What fun!
Your teacher sounds wonderful Carol my learn-to-read gurus were Peter and Jane.
Famous ‘Five On Treasure Island’: This was the book that lured me hook, line and sinker into the reading world. I still remember it like yesterday; my mum, dad, brother and I had just moved south. Away from my all friends, and my grandparents… I was eight, I was lonely. We lived near the sea, a harbour and I could see the Isle of Wight across The Solent. Little did I know that nearly forty years later the Island that I had called my ‘Treasure Island’ would become our home. Ah, the mysterious world of Julian, Anne, Dick and my favourite George made me forget my loneliness, and soon I made new friends and we had our own little adventures. Thank you Enid Blyton for bringing me to a world of limitless imagination.
Yes, another snap I credit the entire Famous Five series for my enduring love of crime fiction which may well be why I’m currently reading When A Killer Strikes.
The book from childhood that had the greatest impact on my life was The Diary of Anne Frank. This diary of a truly courageous young woman. Born June 12, 1929, was a German-Jewish teenager who was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust. She and her family, along with four others, spent 25 months during World War II in an annex of rooms above her father’s office in Amsterdam. After being betrayed to the Nazis, Anne, her family, and the others living were arrested and deported to Nazi concentration camps. In March of 1945, nine months after she was arrested, Anne Frank died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen. She was fifteen years old – the same age as me. Her diary was saved by one of the people who helped the family. It made me feel very lucky, and grateful for all I had, and thankful that I was living in the now, not then.
And another yes! When I read this book I was aware of my Jewish ancestors, my immediate family having moved to the East End of London from Amsterdam. Much later I visited the Anne Frank Museum and found many of the family names in their book of those who were sent to concentration camps from the city.
The book I love reading to my grandchildren is, ‘Guess How Much I Love You?’ (Little Nutbrown Hare)
I think that this is one of the greatest books ever written. If it were required reading for all, the world would be a much better place!
I don’t have any grandchildren yet but when I do this book will also go on my bookshelf.
When A Killer Strikes by R.C. Bridgestock
“Boss, we’ve got a body”.
Detective Sergeant Vicky Hardacre, greets him at the scene, but what awaits them behind the blood red door of Colonial House is undoubtedly a murder. The approach identifies several prime suspects. But who is telling the truth; and who is lying?
Before the killer can be caught, another body is discovered, this time in a putrefying mixture of mud and slime, lain among the remnants of decaying food within a waste-bin shelter. Now it’s the task of the man in charge to make the call.
Are the two murders connected?
There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by working long hours, within strict budgets, and the usual pressure from above to obtain quick results.
However, Dylan is distracted by personal matters, with Jen being keen to seal the deal on a renovation project. He suggests they delay finalising the purchase; until he discovers the significance of the house, and that it’s about to be demolished.
In his absence, Jen’s pleas for help from his estranged siblings are answered, resulting in hidden secrets coming to light, as Dylan continues, through a twisting and turning plot, to ensure justice is done in respect of the murder victims, whose bright hopes for the future were cruelly snatched away. Amazon
Sounds good doesn’t it? My review will be up shortly but you can buy your own copy from: