Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Pembrokeshire

This week I am delighted to say we are putting we are adding a book on the map to Wales – Ireland we need your entries urgently and I know that there are loads of fantastic authors and bloggers in Ireland!!

Anyway Wales, or to be precise, Pembrokeshire is the setting for Thorne Moore’s book A Time For Silence which Booker Talk nominated for a spot on the map. It is always particularly lovely to feature a blogger I’ve followed for many years, and I was thrilled that Booker Talk kindly offered her time to post here. I think you’ll  agree that  Booker Talk’s love of the region shines through in this joint post along with that of the author of this superb novel. Thorne Moore kindly supplied the photos, I particularly love the one of the cottage, the inspiration for the novel!

Although I lived on the border of England and Wales as a child and spent many holidays in Wales, I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever visited Pembrokeshire so I’m handing  the geography part in the capable hands of Booker Talk.

Stones on the Preselis

Today The Book on the Map is set in Pembrokeshire, Wales.  For those of you who were not paying attention in your geography classes, this area is to the south west of the UK, just across the sea from Ireland. It’s renowned for the beauty of its coastline with high cliffs teeming with wildlife dropping down onto small bays of golden sand, while inland the Preseli Hills (where the stones used to build Stonehenge were quarried) give way to verdant valleys. If the scenery looks a little familiar it’s because Pembrokeshire has been used extensively as a film location – most recently by the team behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Pembrokeshire is significant too for its historical connections  –  this was where Henry Tudor landed as he began his campaign to seize the crown and establish the Tudor dynasty.

This is where I go when I want an escape from a frantic work schedule. I’ve walked the coastal path, explored the many ruined castles dating from the 12th century and savoured the local produce. And then I go home refreshed.

But before I get carried away extolling this part of my country and sounding too much like a sales rep for the Pembrokeshire tourist board, lets get back to the book.

Carningli, where you can see angels, if you spend the night up there (in prayer).

A Time for Silence traces a woman’s quest to uncover the history of her grandparents Gwen and Jack who once lived in a remote farmhouse in Pembrokeshire. Sarah’s romanticised view of their lives is however turned upside down the more she delves into the past. Interest turns into an obsession which threatens to destabilise this woman who is already struggling to deal with feelings of guilt about the death of a friend. The novel is told as a dual-time narrative which switches between the mid twentieth century and present day. It’s the debut novel by Thorne Moore.

Although originally from the London area, Thorne Moore’s connection with Wales dates from her time as a history student at the University of Wales in Abertystwyth. She now lives in a Victorian farmhouse in Pembrokeshire in west Wales where she divides her time between writing and her craft business.

Let me hand you over to Thorne to tell us about herself and her love of Pembrokeshire

My mother’s family comes from Pembrokeshire, but I grew up in Luton, which is loud, busy, crowded and industrial. Luton always felt like a town which didn’t care to acknowledge history. Anything old was swept away, buried under rampantly modern development.

When I moved to Pembrokeshire in 1983, the contrast couldn’t be greater. Here, history is inescapable. The land wears it, visibly. The hills are littered with Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Dark age legacies. There are castles, cathedrals, and ruins in plenty, as well as the site of the last invasion of Britain (1797). In 1983, when I moved here, history was a living thing. My new local paper was dedicated to magistrates’ court reports and chapel funerals, with a full list of floral tributes. The High Streets had a hardware store, where washers and cup hooks were carefully counted out from rows of tiny oak drawers, and a dimly lit haberdashers, where a little old lady in mittens would emerge from behind curtains to exhibit her delicately hand-embroidered handkerchief collection. Cafés shut for lunch. The town became impassable on cattle-market day. I had stepped at least fifty years back in time.

I had also moved fifty miles away from anywhere. From Carmarthen, you’re on the slip road to the M4 motorway; Cardiff; London; the world. But first get to Carmarthen, across hills on minor roads blocked with snow in winter and silage wagons in summer. Even now, in 2017, there’s a sense of timeless isolation in North Pembrokeshire, although nowhere is really isolated any more, thanks to the internet. We do have broadband. Very slow broadband. We do have mobile phones, which can, sometimes, pick up a signal of sorts. The little shops have been replaced by supermarket chains. But even now there is still a sense of living in a closed world.

The isolated nature of North Pembrokeshire inspired my first novel, A Time For Silence. Can a secret could be kept by a community? I was told of one such secret, shared and kept for decades. How could it have been kept a secret, I wondered? It wouldn’t have been possible on the housing estate where I grew up, but here, where rural parishes could keep themselves to themselves, of course it had been possible.

The cottage that inspired the book

Another inspiration was an abandoned cottage. They were two a penny here until the demand for holiday cottages exploded. This one was just 100 yards from my garden, and almost impossible to reach without sinking in mud or being shredded on brambles. Today it is being restored, but when I first came upon it, it was forgotten, deep in trees. Peering through the windows, I could see two small rooms, with an inglenook fireplace in which a rusty old kettle had been abandoned, and a collapsed upper floor. Who had lived there? What life had been like? The inspiration was doubled when I considered that my maternal family had come from the area and had probably lived in something very similar.

My book also makes use of another inescapable aspect of the area. Language. Pembrokeshire is sometimes called Little England Beyond Wales, but that is the south of the county, which has been Anglicised for centuries. The north has remained defiantly Welsh.

My present-day heroine, Sarah, had Welsh grandparents, but she is totally English and doesn’t speak a word of their native language. She comes across the cottage where they’d lived, and discovers a dark secret which she is determined to investigate. She imagines their lives to have been a quaint, rural idyll. It is because she is so utterly separated from them by time, culture, economics, language, religion and social expectations, that the truth eludes her when she delves into her family history.

I think, perhaps, I could have set the story in isolated communities elsewhere – in the fens, perhaps, or up on the Pennines, but I would not have had the extra mystification of language to add to the mix. It helps make this area ideal for my speciality, domestic noir. It’s all very domestic. And it can be very noir.

It seems the plot of A Time for Silence was inspired by a real life event. Can you tell us more about that? 

There were two events, and going into them in detail would give the whole plot away. I was told of something that had happened, years ago, at a cottage in the vicinity. Everyone knew what had happened. Everyone, including the police, knew who was responsible, but nothing was done. No action was taken. I was intrigued by the idea of a tight little community closing ranks so completely. Whether the story is true or not, I have no idea. I was trying (and failing) to find some record of it in old copies of the local newspaper, when I came across another story – a court report from the 1950s, in which a young girl was on trial for the heinous crime of attempting suicide. When the magistrates asked her why she had done such a wicked thing, she “made allegations of a serious nature,” which everyone decided, on the surface, to disbelieve. She was packed off to Approved School in punishment, but between the lines I picked up a sense that by removing her from her home, the authorities were really trying to address a problem without openly acknowledging it. I wanted to shout “Listen to her!” But they couldn’t, because it would undermine their world.

There is a very strong sense in your book of the small rural community you call Cemaes. This is where the grandparents had their small-holding. Does Cemaes exist or is a product of your imagination? 

One of the wooded valleys between the sea and the Preseli hills.


If you drive north, from Haverfordwest, over the Preseli hills, you come to a high pass from which, suddenly, you see North Pembrokeshire, all tiny ancient fields, forests, moorland and deep valleys, with scattered hamlets and miniature marooned churches. It’s a very unique place, quite different to the land south and east of the hills and I call it Cemaes because why not? It has a suitably antique feel to it. Cemaes – or Cemais, or Kemys – was an old Hundred, or Cantref in North Pembrokeshire and there is still a Cemaes headland.


How important was the setting to you in the novel? For example did you consciously try to draw attention to the location in certain scenes, or was it more a background inspiration for you?

The North Pembrokeshire coast from the hills.

The setting was important because it is so isolated, so self-contained. I did have specific locations in my mind for some of the places in the book, such as the cottage, Cwmderwen, and I mention places like Fishguard as reference points, but otherwise it’s set in fictional places that are an amalgam of this and that around the area. I invented the market town of Penbryn, which draws bits and pieces from Crymych, Newcastle Emlyn and Cardigan, but I’m very vague about where exactly it is. I named it Penbryn because I assumed there would be so many Penbryns no-one would be able to identify it. It turns out there is only one Penbryn, which is nothing like my fictional one. Ah well.

What has been the reaction from local people to your depiction of their community? Do they recognise themselves and their community in your novel?

A Pembrokeshire hedgerow

I had my heart very much in my mouth when A Time For Silence was first published, terrified that local people would immediately attack me for painting a false or negative picture. So far, fingers crossed, no one has objected. I did draw heavily on stories people had told me about life in the area and I ploughed through many volumes of old newspapers, to get a feel for how it was, but I still thought people might find my descriptions a bit Gothic. I was surprised, and moved, when several elderly readers told me they recognised their own childhood world in my book. More than moved when one told me she had lived through very similar experiences.

Your second novel Motherlove is also located in Pembrokeshire. What is it about this part of the world that inspires you?

A lot of Motherlove happens a long way from Pembrokeshire, but I think my use of two locations illustrates precisely what inspires me here. The story is about two girls, one, repressed angry Vicky living on a claustrophobic council estate in Lyford, which is my fictional version of Luton, and the other is perfectly contented hippy-child Kelly, living on a small-holding in the Preselis with a couple of goats. Life here can be very liberating – if it’s your choice. There are no real towns so there are no urban pressures. There are very different rural ones instead.

How have you been influenced by other writers in your use of the spirit of the place?

I don’t know that I have been influenced consciously by any other recent writers, but I suppose you could say I’m ever so slightly influenced by the author(s) of the Mabinogion – Mediaeval retellings of pre-Christian myths. This is the area where Pwyll Lord of Dyfed goes hunting and finds himself ruling the Otherworld for a year, where horse-goddesses marry mortals, where warriors live on an island for 80 years with a talking head, where white boars lead you into enchanted mists. This sort of thing doesn’t happen in Luton.

Cottage interior.

Thank you Booker Talk and Thorne Moore for a fascinating piece on A Time For Silence and Pembrokeshire – I loved the book and since this feature I’ve started it has made me realise just how much authors use their surroundings, varied as they all are, to inspire the novels they write.

Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere

Suze, Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams

Booker Talk

Cleopatra Loves Books

Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan at The Book Trail to see the details of the book setting on her wonderful map.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Pembrokeshire as much as I have and there are lots more wonderful destinations full of crime coming up on Put A Book On The Map.

A final thank you to Thorne Moore for writing such a brilliantly dark read set in this great destination, I will be reading your other books!

All books featured in this #BookOnTheMap project will get a place on the master page listing crime fiction by their destination with links to the wonderful collaboration between authors and bloggers.

Please email me at if you would like to participate in this feature.

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Peterborough

Today I am delighted to welcome Candi Colborn who blogs at A Crime Reader’s Blog who suggested that we put Eva Dolan’s series featuring DI Zigic and DS Ferreira on the map. I think you’ll agree that the post the pair created together is an absolute delight and I love the photographs provided by Tamsin Colbourn.

Eva Dolan’s Books

Long Way Home – 2014
Tell No Tales – 2015
After You Die – 2016
Watch Her Disappear – 2017

Now I haven’t been to Peterborough, not even on a train but my research tells me that it is a cathedral town in Cambridgeshire although historically it was part of Northamptonshire. The arrival of the railways transformed this town, as it did many in the midlands into an industrial centre in the 19th Century and Peterborough was a key contributor to the brick industry for both brick-making and distribution.

So with that scant knowledge I’ll hand you over to Candi and Eva to tell you what Peterborough is really like and why it is such a great setting for a crime fiction series.
Whenever I tell people I am from Peterborough the usual response is ‘Oh I went through there on the train once’ It’s very rare to find someone who has actually visited. Therefore it was quite a surprise back in 2014 to find out via the wonder that is twitter that a new crime series was being written set in my home town.

Peterborough Cathedral

Eva Dolan’s series of novels is based at the Hate Crimes Unit within Peterborough Police Force. The first book in the series, which came out in 2014 was Long Way Home. This introduced us to the lead Detectives  Zigic and Ferreria.  A body is discovered in a garden shed, and they are soon in a hunt for the killer that leads them into the large immigrant communities in the area.

I recently asked Eva what made Peterborough stand out as the place to set her novels.

Back in 2012, when I started the first book in the series, Long Way Home, Peterborough felt like the natural choice. It’s a city with a history of 20th century immigration, with a large influx of workers coming from southern and eastern Europe after WW2, to take up jobs in food processing and at the local brickyards. Later they were joined by people from India and Pakistan. Then the 90s saw the arrival of many Portuguese and Polish migrant workers, drawn to the agricultural jobs available on the fenland surrounding Peterborough. It’s the perfect melting pot, small enough for each wave of immigration to feel distinct but large enough to contain all manner of criminality. Peterborough has also become something of a magnet for media coverage of issues of immigration, social cohesion, and the recent rise of ultra right political parties, a subject I explored in the second book, Tell No Tales, so even readers who haven’t been there will recognise it as a place where these issues are in play.

Other than the train station, Immigration is probably the only other thing that springs to mind when people think of Peterborough. With one of the highest levels of non-UK passport holders in the country outside London this is no surprise. I moved to Peterborough as a child from Cromer, a small quiet white seaside town on the North Norfolk coast. The differences between the two places were immense especially as a teenager. In Cromer at the time the height of sophistication was to own a padded, reversible jumper with a big cat on one side, and loads of little cats on the other. To move to Peterborough was a huge shock, not only did it have shops but there were people of all creeds and colours all side by side in this huge exciting yet alien city (Don’t worry I very quickly lost the reversible jumper)

Sunset in the fens

It is this multicultural feel that Eva brings to life in her novels. Her writing highlights the desperate situations that people can find themselves in. Yet she manages to deal with issues without coming across as preachy or voyeuristic.

Of course you don’t have to stray far from Peterborough to quickly lose the big city feel as the fens are a completely different story, with vast sprawling flat countryside as far as you can see. It is these fenlands that Eva moves into for her later books. The third in the series is After you Die is set in the village of Elton. A young girl who was disabled in an accident is left to die after her Mother is brutally murdered.

I was interested to know if Eva ever regretted choosing Peterborough and the Fens as the setting now that her novel was a series and she had to continue writing about it?

Winter in the fens

Setting has become less important as the series has continued. The first two books were very much rooted in immigrant communities and needed to be set in the heart of Peterborough. After You Die and Watch Her Disappear, which focus on disability-related harassment and transphobia, really could have been set anywhere. For them, I went out into the pretty limestone villages around the city and it was interesting dropping Zigic and Ferreira into a different world to the one they were used to and seeing how they’d respond, not least finding that they thought hate crimes were intricately linked with poverty, which of course they aren’t at all.

Ultimately crime stories are personal stories and the size of the place you set them isn’t actually very important. I’d like to send my detectives further out into the countryside in future, take the series into rural noir territory and write an antidote to all the cosy versions of country life. The fens are essentially lawless, because of the sprawl and lack of funds for policing, communities are isolated and vulnerable and they run on different social codes to the city or the suburbs. I’d like to write about everything that’s rotten out there.

I actually lived out on the edge of the fens. I completely understand how they can be seen as strange. Nowadays when I go back, the thing that always stands out is the sheer flatness of them and in an odd way this can feel really intimidating. There is also a certain beauty about them though, and of course as Eva says they are a big part of the reason why Peterborough is so multicultural with all the farmland around.

One of the things I like about Eva’s books are that despite the brutal subject matter of the stories you also get the sense that Peterborough and the fens are more than just a place of racism, violence and crime, there is also history and beauty. The fourth book in the series Watch Her Disappear for example begins in Ferry Meadows, a 500 acre park 3 miles from the city centre. This is a magnet for people especially in the summer with it’s lakes, woodlands and meadows. Watch Her Disappear begins with the murder of a transgender woman. The story then not only follows the investigation into the murder and a series of attacks on the transgender community within the city, but also gives an insight into the effect on how being transgender affects family and friends as well as the person.

I asked Eva if she had any favourite places to go either for research of for pleasure?

I try to keep it all about the work while I’m on a research trip but Peterborough has a really great shopping centre that I can’t resist and I was happy to stumble across Clarkes, an amazing restaurant on Cathedral Square; it has a lovely intimate atmosphere and a small but frequently changing menu focusing on local, seasonal produce. It’s the kind of place Zigic would probably book for Anna’s birthday. But I think Ferreira would take issue with their slim selection of rum.

Unfortunately I have been told that Clarkes has now closed down but there are still lots of places that Zigic can try.
Eva’s novels deal with some horrific crimes, and face head on the issue of minorities and the treatment that they often have to put up with. Yet within them is a sensitivity that gives a sense of the injustices being handed out to people purely based on the colour of their skin or the country of their birth. If you like a good crime story set in a place that you actually might not be that familiar with I would definitely recommend Eva Dolan’s series. Start with Long Way Home and I bet once you have met Zigic and Ferreira you will be hooked. It might also encourage you to stop next time you go through on the train and see what Peterborough has to offer.

Photos by Tamsin Colbourn (@tamcol29)

Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere

To celebrate the whole series of books on the map featuring DI Zigic and DS Ferreira, I have found a different blogger review for each title. I do hope if that even if you’ve already read all the books, you might well find a new blogger to follow instead!

Long Way Home  by Crimepieces
Tell No Tales by Crime Fiction Lover
After You Die by The Writes of Woman
Watch Her Disappear by A Crime Reader’s Blog

There are so many brilliant reviews of all the books in this series out there, if you have one why not share the link on twitter today to help put this book on the map!

Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan at The Book Trail to see the details of the book setting on her wonderful maps.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed the trip to Peterborough, I know I have and I want to say a huge thank you to Candi and Eva in making the visit so enjoyable. If I didn’t already know that this is one series I need to read, I certainly do now!

All books featured in this #BookOnTheMap project will get a place on the Master Page listing crime fiction by their destination with links to the wonderful collaboration between authors and bloggers.

Please email me at if you would like to participate in this feature.

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Derby

Put A Book On The Map is off to Derby featuring the DI Damen Brook series written by Steven Dunne.  Our blogger guide Mary Mayfield of Our Book Reviews Online has kindly agreed to give us a resident’s view of the area and has kindly  provided the wonderful photos of key spots to illustrate this post

Before Steven Dunne tells us a bit about Derby and of course DI Damen Brook’s life there, here is a little bit about Derby. Derby is also one of the places in Britain who are the furthest from the sea and somewhere that I’ve visited a few times, the Peak District being a popular place to holiday and I’ve actually stayed in Ashbourne as well as paid visits to the spa town of Buxton. But without further ado, I am delighted to introduce Steven Dunne.

D.I. Damen Brook  
1. The Reaper (2007)
2. The Disciple (2010)
3. Deity (2012)
4. The Unquiet Grave (2013)
5. A Killing Moon (2015)
6. Death Do Us Part (2016)


“Brook hadn’t chosen Derby as a place to live and work. He’d picked up the first available transfer out of London…And Derby hadn’t let him down. It was a pleasingly unremarkable place to lose himself.  An engineering town by tradition, which marked out the population as hard working and straightforward, it also boasted a large and well-integrated Asian population.

Frank Whittle, pioneer of the jet engine, was much honoured in a city where Rolls Royce was the main employer. Derby also had one of the largest railway engineering works in the world.  It was a city built on transport, going nowhere.  Obligatory retail parks ringed the city and much of the population and traffic had followed, making Brook’s neighbourhood, if not any more glamorous, then certainly a little quieter.

And despite the inevitable decline of such an industry-dependent city, crime was not excessive and murder was rare. But what really marked out this East Midlands backwater was the Peak District, a few miles to the north-west.  Brook had fallen in love with it and took every opportunity he could to drive into the hills and soak up the peace of the countryside. Ashbourne, Hartington, Buxton, Bakewell, Carsington Water – all were favoured haunts, where he could dump the car and walk for hours alone, clearing his mind of all the clutter.”

In the first novel of the Reaper series, Detective Inspector Damen Brook describes his new posting in the East Midlands after moving from London. Following a damaging, and only partially successful, struggle to bring the serial killer of the title to justice, Brook’s once-stellar career is on the skids and his marriage over. With his move, he has reconciled himself to a quieter life. Of course, he’s deluding himself and, six books later, Brook’s star begins to rise again because of his dedicated pursuit of justice.

And Brook speaks for me. My reasons for relocating from London to Derby were thankfully more mundane but, when I made the move, I experienced the same reaction to my new home. Brook works in the city – at the real-life St Mary’s Wharf police HQ – but lives in the lovely Peak District village of Hartington. Driving home through the countryside late at night provides him with an essential safety valve when a case threatens to overwhelm him and I often write these into the novels as a break from the high-octane tension of Brook’s investigations.

Derby itself is Britain’s most landlocked city and houses a quarter of a million people. It is home to global brands like Rolls Royce as well as a thriving university, which served as a location in my 5th novel, A Killing Moon. Derby is also, apparently, the most haunted city in the country, though I’ve yet to see one. Ghost walks have been thriving for years centred around the old Derby Gaol.

Brook took a while to see Derby’s virtues after being wrenched from London but neither of us could envisage going back.

By Steven Dunne

Mary Mayfield kindly offered to share her love of this series of books featuring Derby and as well as her brilliant book reviews,  you can also find her tweeting with the handle @marymayf

I first discovered Steven Dunne in 2012 with his third crime thriller Deity. I knew before reading that it was set in my home town of Derby but the only book I’d previously encountered set here was very sketchy on location, and at times the characters’ movements through the city were downright infeasible.

River Derwent

So when I read Deity, I was surprised to recognise the locations as quickly, easily and precisely as I did; in fact when a dead body is slipped into the river Derwent in the second chapter, Dunne gives enough detail that anyone familiar with the area could point to the spot. This accuracy continued throughout the book – the movements of police, victims and suspects could be plotted along familiar streets in the city centre (Waterstones book store gets a nice mention), another ‘incident’ occurs near Exeter bridge a route I regularly take between car park and downtown shops, but for me the most chilling moment came when the killer appeared to be heading to the house of a friend of mine!


The Quad, Arts Centre & Cinema

Since then, DI Brook has been finding dead bodies, talking to witnesses and tracking down villains, on golf courses and allotments, at both the sixth form college and the university, in the city’s pubs (always named) and pleasant suburban villages – and whether it’s Brook getting confused by Derby’s one-way system, or someone taking the quickest way on foot from one end of town to the other, I can follow the route in my head or on a map every time.


Silk Mill from Exeter Bridge

I think there’s something a little strange about my delight in reading crime thrillers set in places I know so well. I wouldn’t want real crime taking place there (and I certainly hope Derby doesn’t have anything approaching the number of murderers that Brook encounters) but to read about it is a different matter. Maybe it’s like watching a film and feeling that exciting moment of “I’ve been there” recognition, or a certain level of strange pride that Derby could be as famous for fictional crime as Morse’s Oxford or Rebus’s Edinburgh; whatever’s the cause, it does add a certain something to a novel.

Despite the chills I’m rather keen to see a DI Brook novel set in my own suburb. I’ve offered coffee as a bribe to encourage Steven Dunne to come and recce the area – I could point out all the hidden footpaths and alleyways that cut through the estate, all the ways a villain could make a quick getaway if necessary – but so far he’s not taken me up on the offer.

By Mary Mayfield

Read Mary’s review of Deity here which really captures how much we all seem to love books that accurately represent those places we know well.

Derby Guildhall


Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere

As we are really putting a whole series of books on the map, I have found a different blogger review for each title. I do hope if you’ve already read all the books, you might well find a new blogger to follow instead!

The Reaper by Euro Crime

The Disciple by Northern Crime

Deity by Our Book Reviews Online

The Unquiet Grave by The Welsh Librarian

The Killing Moon by Book Addict Shaun

Death Do Us Part by For Winter Nights

There are so many brilliant reviews of all the books in this series out there, if you have one why not share the link on twitter today to help put this book on the map!

Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan The Book Trail to see the details of the book setting on her wonderful maps.


I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mary and Steven for this wonderful post bringing to life a whole series worth of brilliant crime thrillers set in Derby.

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Liverpool


Today The Book on the Map is in Liverpool, a book that once you’ve read it, you will realise couldn’t possibly be set anywhere else. A Tapping at my Door not only has the perfect setting it also made my top ten list of books published in 2016 and so I was particularly thrilled when David Jackson and Karen from Go Buy The Book were both keen to put this particular book on the map!


Right first to the location: Liverpool is in the North West of England and was a key port city giving rise to the kind of diverse population that springs up when ships are docking or leaving on a regular basis with some of the oldest immigrant communities in the whole of the UK. In more modern times Liverpool was of course the home of the Beatles.


I have only visited Liverpool once and I have to admit the biggest thrill was to see the iconic Liver Birds atop The Royal Liver Building. These really are far more impressive in real life than the pictures. But before that, many moons ago, when I first left home, I shared a house with a ‘bunch of Scousers,’ in other words they were all from Liverpool. I have incredibly fond memories of those days but the very early ones were spent with me either trying to get them to repeat what they said, or smiling inanely; The Liverpool accent takes some getting used to. Fortunately I had regular practice when we settled down together to watch the omnibus edition of Brookside on a Saturday afternoon.

Well enough of the trips down memory lane, back to the book!

A Tapping at my Door

A Tapping at My Door

David Jackson

A Tapping at my Door is the first of my new crime thriller series set in Liverpool. Before that, I had written four novels in a different series set in a completely different part of the world – New York, in fact. The first book in that series (Pariah) was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Awards, while the most recent (Cry Baby) was an Amazon top 10 bestseller and listed as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year. So why, you might ask, did I decide to embark on a new series?

One reason is that I was on the lookout for a new publisher, and publishers generally want something fresh, particularly if the existing books in a series are owned elsewhere. Another reason is that I felt I was missing out on local support for my books. Setting my novels here in the UK would, I reasoned, increase my chances of getting that important backing from shops and supermarkets in the area. Finally, I needed somewhere that would be easy to get to in order to carry out my research, and possessing enough interesting features to make it stand out as much as the characters in my books.

With all that in mind, Liverpool was the natural choice of location. I was born and raised there, and although I now live on the other side of the Mersey, I still travel in to Liverpool every day for my work as an academic.
As far as I am concerned, Liverpool has everything a novelist needs as a setting: the distinctive waterfront, with its Liver Buildings and Albert Dock; the Liverpool One shopping area; the Georgian Quarter, filled with more Georgian buildings than any other city outside London; the two cathedrals and two premier league football teams; the slavery museum; the Tate; the Beatles connection …

Of course, Liverpool has its darker, tougher side. There are areas of poverty and deprivation here to rival those of any other major UK city. There is also crime, without which I’d be short of material. But balanced against this is the one thing about the city that I don’t think is matched anywhere else: the humour and warm-heartedness of its people. That, above all, is what makes me want to write about Liverpool.


Karen from Go Buy The Book is well qualified to discuss this book as her favourite types of reading is crime fiction and she lives in Liverpool so I’ll hand over to her and her wonderful photos of actual places in this book. You can read her review of the book here

The setting of a book can be just as crucial as the characters and the plot. In the case of A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson, the use of Liverpool is so pivotal to the plot that it couldn’t really be set anywhere else.


The former Waterstones where Cody was busking

Although the first location we encounter is Stoneycroft, the scene of a particularly gruesome murder, it is the second chapter where the city of Liverpool is really introduced. DS Nathan Cody is busking on Bold Street, a cosmopolitan area in the city centre, in front of the former Waterstones book shop, when he embarks on a high octane, if comical, chase through the city centre.

Clayton Square shopping centre where Cody’s guitar got stuck in the automatic doors!

Being from Liverpool, I found the description of the places he passes to be so well-written that I actually envisaged myself running through Central Station, over Ranelagh Street into Clayton Square and up the steps leading towards Lime Street.



 The steps leading towards Lime Street Station where Cody caught the flasher.

The steps leading towards Lime Street Station where Cody caught the flasher.





A member of the Major Incident Team, Cody works out of Stanley Road station. Situated in Kirkdale, in the north of the city, an area that has witnessed more than its fair share of crime, this is a complete contrast to where he lives in Rodney Street in the heart of the city centre. Known as the ‘Harley Street of the North’, Rodney Street is the home to doctors and dentists as well as many private residents. It is perhaps most well known for being, in 1809, the birthplace of William Ewart Gladstone, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In recent years, it has become a mecca for many television production crews with the likes of Foyle’s War and Peaky Blinders being filmed there.


Sheil Street
Sheil Street


Heading away from the city centre, the murderer strikes again in Sheil Road, near to Kensington, one of the busiest roads in the city.


This road is not a stranger to crime with numerous cases of anti-social behaviour and violence being reported over the past few years. Despite this, Sheil Road also contains one of the entrances to the 121 acre Newsham Park, opened in 1868.


One of the most iconic images of Liverpool – the Royal Liver Building – plays a vital role in the story. Construction of this building began in 1907 with the building opening a few years later in 1911. This Grade I listed building overlooks the River Mersey and stands at an impressive 90m tall. The building is probably most known for the two Liver Birds adorning each tower. Legend has it that while one looks out to sea, the other looks over the city, protecting its people. They must have been turning a blind eye as the killer struck!



Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere
A Tapping at my Door

Rebecca Bradley

Bibliophile Book Club


Cleopatra Loves Books

There are so many brilliant reviews of A Tapping at my Door out there, if you have one why not share the link on twitter today to help put this book on the map!


Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan The Book Trail to see the details of the book setting on her wonderful map.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Karen and David for this wonderful post bringing to life this brilliant crime thriller set in Liverpool which starts with an excerpt from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

All books featured in this #BookOnTheMap project will get a place on the Master Page listing crime fiction by their destination with links to the wonderful collaboration between authors and bloggers.

Please email me at if you would like to participate in this feature.

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Edinburgh #Portobello


I am thrilled to welcome Joanne who blogs at Portobello Book Blog and Alison Baillie author of Sewing the Shadows Together to put a book on the map in the suburb of Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland. Joanne and Alison have taken the role of interviewer and interviewee to bring Portobello to life – they have kindly provided all the wonderful photos that accompany this piece.

Sewing the Shadows Together at Portobello

Sewing the Shadows Together gives us the beautiful setting of a seaside suburb of Edinburgh, Portobello, as the backdrop of a horrible crime, that of the murder of a young teenage girl, Shona McIver.
Can the mystery of who killed her possibly be solved more than thirty years later? Tom, Shona’s brother, hopes so having heard that the man who committed the crime is to be released from hospital which coincides with his return from South Africa to scatter his mother’s ashes and to attend a school reunion.

Portobello is a coastal suburb of Edinburgh the capital of Scotland.  This residential area has a promenade stretching between Joppa and Craigentinny.

Without further ado I will hand over to Joanne and Alison.


Hi Alison – when I first heard about your book, I knew I just had to read it as it’s not just set in Edinburgh, but right here in Portobello where I live! What made you decide to set the book here?

Portobello, the beautiful seaside area of Edinburgh, is where my mother was born and brought up. As a child I spent all my holidays here with my grandparents so it has always been a very special place for me. I love the long golden beach, the promenade running along it and the grey-stone Victorian villas. Later my first teaching post was at Portobello High School and it was then that the idea for Sewing the Shadows Together first came to me.

Abercorn PArk affectionately known by all as the Daisy Park


Thanks Alison – I know that you were inspired (if that’s theright word) by really awful events which took place in and around Edinburgh. Can you explain about that and say a bit more about what the book’s about?

The Sea at Portobello
The Sea at Portobello

Yes, Joanne. Around that time there were two tragic events that made a lasting impression on me. Firstly, in 1977 two seventeen-year-old girls disappeared from the World’s End pub on Edinburgh’s Roval Mile. I knew this place well as it was near Moray House College where I had done my teacher training. The bodies of the girls were found a few days later, but the identity of the murderers was not discovered for many years. This uncertainty and lack of closure had a devastating effect on the families, and I think every young person in Edinburgh at that time felt very aware of the crime. It could have been any one of us who went out for a drink on a Friday night.


Then in July 1983 something happened in Portobello that affected me deeply. A five-year-old girl disappeared while playing on the prom. Her body wasn’t found until twelve days later, three hundred miles away. She was one of the victims of the serial killer, Robert Black. Even though I didn’t know the family, I could identify with them so much as my sons were about the same age and we often played on the beach near the place where she disappeared.

In the days before she was found the atmosphere in Portobello was charged with fear and bewilderment. The whole town was on edge, desperately hoping the little girl would be found. Rumours and suspicions ran through the community, and even my granny’s garden and shed were searched by the police, I will never forget that mixture of hope and apprehension before the body was discovered.

a photo from the Joppa end looking along the prom
a photo from the Joppa end looking along the prom

I wondered then how her family and friends would ever be able to come to terms with what had happened. And so the seeds of Sewing the Shadows Together were sown. In it the lives of Tom, the brother, and Sarah, the best friend, of a teenage girl murdered in Portobello are scarred by the tragedy for their whole lives. They meet up again at a school reunion many years later and when the local misfit who’d been convicted of the crime is proved innocent, suspicions fall on family and friends. They discover dark secrets before the real killer is eventually revealed.

I remember being in holiday in the Borders then and the police searching the river for the missing Portobello girl. I didn’t live here then: I lived in Leith. Both places have a really strong sense of community. When you and I were first in touch we realised we knew a lot of people in common in Portobello. That sense of community is one of the reasons I love living here. Do you have a favourite place in Portobello? 

The sense of community is very strong in Portobello, and it is one of the reasons I loved it, especially as a child. My grandparents had both been born and brought up in Portobello, so they seemed to know everybody and we had relatives on every corner. My grandfather was very sociable and it took ages to walk along the High Street with him as he stopped to tip his hat and greet everyone we met. I loved walking round with my grandmother too as she could talk about the history, the long-gone pier, the ice-cream parlours and the first family to have a motor-car.

Portobello Swim Centre, a beautiful old Victorian building right on the prom.

My favourite places have to be the beach and the prom. When I go back to Portobello now I always walk there, looking across the Firth of Forth to Fife and smelling the sea air. Sewing the Shadows Together starts with Tom coming back to Portobello and walking along the prom and for him like me the place is full of memories, such as the red-stone swimming baths where we learnt to swim.

Another favourite place has to be my grandparents’ house in St Mary’s Place, a quiet street not far from the prom. I loved it, a typical grey-stone Victorian villa, which I used for HJ Kidd’s house in the book. It was a very short walk down James Street to the beach and when I go back to Portobello I always walk down from there to the prom as I did as a child. My grandmother had lived in one of the red-stone tenements on the corner of James Street and the prom when she was young, and I used that flat for Tom’s childhood home. Just writing about this takes me back to this place I love.


Sunrise on the morning of 23 January 2017

Yes I love the prom too. I walked along the beach this morning and even though it was dull and a bit misty, it was still beautiful as the sea was so calm and peaceful.  When I was reading Sewing the Shadows Together, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the geography wasn’t quite as it should be and some places had different names. Why did you decide to do that?


I wanted to capture the atmosphere of Portobello, rather than be strictly geographically accurate. I also didn’t want to the scene of tragic events, for example where the body was found, to be too recognisable. I therefore invented an imaginary park, moved buildings to fit in with the story and changed the names of institutions, like the school, because they were not true to life.

Well I think you did an excellent job of making Portobello a character in itself in your book. As you know, I really enjoyed Sewing the Shadows together. If anyone would like to read my review you can read it here

Alison Baillie on the Prom Portobello

Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere

Sewing The Shadows Together

Reviewed by Being Anne who tweets @Williams13Anne

Reviewed by Chelle’s Book Reviews who tweets @ChellesBookRevi

Reviewed by By The Letter Book Reviews who tweets @sarahhardy681



Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan The Book Trail to see the details of the book setting on her wonderful map.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to both Joanne and Alison for this wonderful post which I had a sneak preview of before recently reading Sewing the Shadows Together. It is wonderful to see the pictures, to read the inspiration behind the story and of course read the book itself which is my favourite type of crime fiction, one that brings the past and the present together.

All books featured in this #BookOnTheMap project will get a place on the Master Page listing crime fiction by their destination with links to the wonderful collaboration between authors and bloggers.

Please email me at if you would like to participate in this feature.

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #EastAnglia


I am delighted to welcome Katherine Sunderland who blogs at  Bibliomaniac and Mary-Jane Riley to put the very first book on the map in East Anglia.

The Bad Things and After She Fell form the first two books in the Alex Devlin series which uses the back drop of Norfolk and Suffolk to these crime thrillers with a strong psychological edge. Susan from The Book Trail has also created maps for these two books on her site so you can hop over to see her for an East Anglian extravaganza


For those of you not from the UK, or like me whose geography is a little on the weak side Norfolk is a county on the East of England, it borders the counties of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire which together with Norfolk make up the region known as East Anglia and is about 100 miles north-east of London. As Alex Devlin does a fair bit of travelling as the journalist turned investigator, it seemed appropriate to give her the whole region of East Anglia rather than a mere county or town.

Although I’ve visited Norwich many times as Owen went to Norwich University of the Arts, and we’ve had family visits to Norwich Castle, walked around this picturesque town and had a wonderful and hilarious evening in the Revolution Cuban Restaurant Bar,sadly I haven’t explored further afield and so I was delighted that Katherine and Mary-Jane have bought the places mentioned in these two excellent books to life!


Mary-Jane Riley – Author


I like to think my earliest memory of East Anglia is of me as a two-year-old, running across the beach at Mundesley, laughing. Perhaps I can remember the sparse luxury of the converted railway carriage in which we stayed. Or maybe it’s when I’m a little older, sheltering from the cold east wind inside a tent on the same beach with my father, eating ham sandwiches while my brothers sand-surfed. I know I can remember walking around Sheringham on a treasure hunt, looking for the clues in shop windows. And the time we went to the Summer Theatre at Southwold – though I can’t remember what we saw.

Some years later, quite by chance, I came to live in Norfolk with my new husband. We’ve moved around Norfolk and Suffolk once or twice, moves dictated by children and jobs, but for more than half my life now I have lived in this wonderful area of England.

I love it here. I love the isolated villages, the desolate salt marshes and reedbeds, the mysterious forests, the sandy beaches, the crumbling cliffs. The sky is wide and often grey, the air is crisp, the winds sharp from the North Sea.


East Anglia, with its contrasts and edginess is the perfect place to set a crime novel – as many writers have discovered – P.D.James, Ruth Rendell, Nicci French, Dorothy L Sayers to name only four – so what better place for me to use for my first crime novel?


With children and dogs, we have spent many hours trudging along beaches in summer and winter. The seaside has a very different feel about it in the cold months, and that is what I wanted to capture with The Bad Things. I didn’t want the light and sunny feel of a town in the summer, I wanted people huddled in coats, waves crashing on the shore, grey sky meeting grey sea. I wanted isolation, desolation. But I wanted a family place too, where a family should be happy, but where dark secrets lay just below the surface. Southwold was perfect, only it would be known as Sole Bay to enable me to play around with the geography (and not upset people!). It has beaches, a harbour lined with wooden sheds selling fresh fish, salt marshes and a wide horizon. In the winter the cold sea can be cruel – breaching sea defences, eroding the beaches and the coastline, flooding buildings.


I wanted the ‘Fine City’ of Norwich to play a part too… the vibrant market that sells everything from artisan bread to foam pads for cushions, the Forum building that houses the Millennium Library and is ultra-modern in design, juxtaposed with the beautiful old St Peter Mancroft Church. Scenes set in the city also gave the book a space to breathe, before plunging back into the events happening in Sole Bay.

Absolutely perfect.


It was on a visit to North Norfolk that inspiration struck for my second book, After She Fell. On a lovely day we took a trip to the village of Happisburgh (known as Hallow’s Edge in the book). Over the years, I had written many news stories about coastal erosion in the area, and I wanted to see it for myself. We walked along the edge of the cliff, and came across a road that ended in – nothing. It had fallen into the sea. I peered over the edge, and down below were the granite rocks that were supposed to protect the cliff, then there was the sea. When I looked to my left, I saw a beautiful Arts and Craft house.

That was it. I had always wanted to write a book set in a boarding school – blame too much Enid Blyton and a lonely childhood for that – and in my imagination I saw that house as a private school. What if a pupil from the school fell off the end of the road? I also wanted to explore the realities of youngsters living in an isolated village, and the tensions between private school pupils and local teenagers. There is also a beautiful lighthouse in the village, perfect for…. you will have to read the book to find that out.

And then, just down the road is Mundesley…. of course my characters had to go there. It is still a typical Norfolk seaside town, with cafes that do tea and coffee and shops that sell buckets and spades and windmills, and beautiful, golden beaches. I thought it would be somewhere where the characters could breathe – just for a while. It would also serve as a suitable contrast to the claustrophobic village and school.

It was also a chance for me and my husband to eat fish and chips on a bench near the town’s tiny museum and to walk on the beach and picture that two-year-old me, laughing.



THE BAD THINGS out in ebook and paperback:
AFTER SHE FELL out now as ebook and paperback:
Mary-Jane Riley @mrsmjriley
Katherine Sunderland of Bibliomaniac – Blogger

I was absolutely thrilled to be asked by my Book Blogger Heroine Cleo to take part in her new series of blog posts which looks at the setting and location of reader’s favourite novels.

I’m going to talk about Norfolk. The best place in the world!

Book: Mary Jane Riley “The Bad Things

Location: Suffolk and Norfolk Coast

We have been going to Norfolk at least 3 or 4 times a year for the last ten years. I love the huge skyline that stretches on forever, the never-ending flatness of the countryside and the sense of remoteness and isolation as you travel along the winding lanes. There is also an immediate sense of having to slow down, sometimes very literally when you get stuck behind a tractor on the meandering single lane roads but I think it’s also because of the simplicity of the horizon and the unspoilt coastline. My husband loves it because of the patchy mobile reception and temperamental WiFi meaning he can become unreachable for a few precious days!


Every beach along the North Norfolk coast line is different. There are the popular sandy beaches and seaside resorts; there are the lesser known sandy beaches, there are beaches framed with colourful beach huts and then there are the marshlands that stretch as far as the eye can see until the grassland merges into the murky water. There are beaches which are good for surfing, swimming, building sandcastles, flying kites, epic walks and crab fishing.



For us, Norfolk has always been one of “The Good Things” in our family, but that said, a busy beach, a crowded resort, an isolated headland and sinking marshlands are all prefect locations for stories about crime, mystery and tragedy – how many times has your mind envisaged missing children, a drowning, a devastating argument……


And what’s better than a beach at winter? I love the bleakness of the coast line and the exposure to the chilling wind. What of Norfolk’s eroding coastline -it’s unable to protect itself so how will it protect you? And those marshlands with their unpredictable tides – the way the water feeds in along its many invisible rivulets, weaving its way in and out of the higher land until before you know it you are completely cut off and cast adrift into the sea. Oh yes, a perfect setting for a novel!

When we were in Norfolk last year, I read a few thrillers set in the area. I was attracted to Mary Jane Riley’s book because the font cover reminded me of Holkham beach. It could have easily have been a photo from my album with my children wandering off to play while I put my head in a book!!


Although the setting for “The Bad Things” is a fictional town based on Southwold in Suffolk, the coastline is very similar to Norfolk and I think Riley has used elements of Norfolk towns in her writing.  I enjoyed Riley’s novel because her descriptions of Suffolk/Norfolk are so vivid and incredibly easy to picture. They lend themselves perfectly to the atmosphere of the story and Riley uses the location to increase the tension and suspense in “The Bad Things“. I suppose reading a gripping thriller, with the most terrifying premise for any parent, which is set in a place where you always feel relaxed and safe should make me feel more unsettled, but it didn’t spoil my break at all and actually I just enjoyed being able to really “see” the novel.

If in doubt, make sure you have chosen to read your novel at one of the many friendly, bright and cheerful cafes that are sprinkled throughout the county!


Thanks so much Cleo for letting me take part in your #PutABookOnTheMap! To read my full review of “The Bad Things” by Mary Jane Riley please click here:

Bibliomaniac’s Review of The Bad Things

For a list of other books set in Norfolk click here:

Bibliomaniac’s Norfolk Reading Suggestions

You can find Katherine on twitter @KatherineSunde3

The Bad Things Book Reviews from the blogosphere

The Bad ThingsThe Bad Things by  Postcard Reviews and can be found on twitter @TracyShephard

The Bad Things by Grab This Book who can be found on twitter @grabthisbook

The Bad Things by The Book Review Café who can be found on twitter @ReviewCafe

The Bad Things by Cleopatra Loves Books – that’s me, I can be found at @cleo_bannister


After She Fell Book Reviews from the blogosphere

After She Fell by The Book Lover’s Boudoir who can be found on twitter @pscottwriter

After She Fell was written by Lizzie Hayes of Promoting Crime Fiction, this review can also be found at the wonderful resource for crime fiction lovers Mystery People

After She Fell by Relax and Read Book Reviews who can be found on twitter @callejajos


And Claire Knight has provided a review of both books at Crime Book Junkie  she can be found on twitter @ClaireKreads



Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan The Book Trail to see the details of the book settings on her wonderful maps.


I do hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to East Anglia as much as I have and there are lots more wonderful destinations full of crime coming up on Put A Book On The Map.

Thank you so much to Mary-Jane Riley for writing two (five star) reads set in this great destination, and to Katherine for providing a piece and her pictures which illustrates how a setting that we know well, can add a special something to the reading experience.

All books featured in this #BookOnTheMap project will get a place on the master page listing crime fiction by their destination with links to the wonderful collaboration between authors and bloggers.

Please email me at if you would like to participate in this feature.

Posted in Put A Book On The Map, Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 11)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading, Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton which contrary to what I said yesterday, is actually due to be published on 23 March 2016.


Please see yesterday’s post  for the synopsis and the opening lines from this book

I have just finished my fellow Channel Island dweller, Rachel Abbott’s latest book The Sixth Window, the latest in the brilliant Tom Douglas series, set in Manchester. The Sixth Window is going to be published on 21 February 2017. Rachel was kind enough to send me a copy but a little bird told me this is on NetGalley as of yesterday!



Eighteen months after Natalie Gray loses her husband Bernie in a horrific hit and run accident, she finds love with his best friend, Ed Cooper, and moves into his home with her teenage daughter Scarlett. But she begins to suspect Ed has a dark side — and even darker intentions. Natalie must get her troubled child to a safer place, but when Scarlett starts to hear voices coming from the empty apartment next door it seems she has unwittingly moved them into the heart of danger.

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth. As his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett, will he be too late to protect them from the threat they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart? NetGalley

Next up I have one of my own books After She Fell by Mary-Jane Riley which I bought because I loved The Bad Things so much.



There are so many ways to fall…
Catriona needs help. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Elena was found dead at the bottom of a cliff near her boarding school. The death has been ruled a suicide, but Catriona isn’t convinced.
When her old friend, journalist Alex Devlin, arrives in Hallow’s Edge to investigate, she quickly finds that life at private boarding school The Drift isn’t as idyllic as the bucolic setting might suggest.
Amidst a culture of drug-taking, bullying and tension between school and village, no one is quite who they seem to be, and there are several people who might have wanted Elena to fall… Amazon


So that’s what I’m reading this week – what have you chosen? Do let me know in the comments box below.


british-isles-mapThere’s another reason for me choosing After She Fell – Mary-Jane has kindly agreed to kick-start the Put A Book On The Map project which will also be linking to The Book Trail the-booktrail-logoSusan at The Book Trail is going to use the key locations for both The Bad Things and After She Fell to prepare a book trail in readiness for the launch on 4 February 2017 – If anyone wants to help out with this part, please let me know and I will pass your details onto Susan.

It is with enormous pleasure that I can confirm that the blogger post is going to be written by the lovely Katherine from BibliomaniacUK  on the locations visited in the  Alex Devlin series.  I can’t wait to see this collaboration in action!

If you’ve read and reviewed either of Mary-Jane’s books as I would love to link and feature some reviews to make this a real community event. Of course full credit will be given to anyone submitting material and you can email me at

We’d love to hear from you to make the first book on the map a magnificent event!

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap


Like many of you I started this blog in part to talk about the books I love and don’t get me wrong I’ve loved every minute of it, but there is little in the way of discussion because of the absolute need not to spoil the books for others. So while we talk in broad terms about the plot and characters etc. it can all get a bit coded.

Then I had an idea!

What we can discuss is the settings of books, in particular I’m thinking of crime fiction novels set in the UK.

So what led me here, well a couple of things. If you read my wrap up post from yesterday you will know that the big attraction for me with Kate Hamer’s latest book, The Doll Funeral, is that it is set in the Forest of Dean which is where I lived from the age of nine until I left home. Better still the book is set in 1983 seen through thirteen year old Ruby’s eyes, and yes – I was thirteen in 1983. I want to see how the author depicts the area and how it adds to the story. After all a rural area like this one is very different to a bustling city. I read a piece written by Kate Hamer on how she came to choose the setting.


Around the same time Rebecca Bradley, fellow blogger and author of Shallow Waters and Made to be Broken both set in her home town of Nottingham, mentioned on social media that she was scouting out a new location for a standalone novel. I began to think I may be able to make this work, especially as in the way these things go, I began to see pieces about settings everywhere.

But I can’t do it without your help.



The idea is that you pick a book that you’ve read in a setting you know well – you don’t have to live there, and tell me about it and perhaps provide some pictures. Hopefully for some of these choices I’ll be able to persuade the author to post a little about why they chose that setting, what is it about the area that worked well, how true to life they have made it etc.

Or if you are an author you can tell me about the setting of your book, why you chose it, what the location adds to your book and perhaps whether or not you like the place. I will then source a reviewer and/or someone who knows the area to link up with you.

the-booktrail-logoI’m also grateful to Susan from the wonderful The Book Trail whose whole blog revolves around worldwide locations in books  in her wonderful blog who has agreed to provide a book trail map to link with the post and will feature a piece about the book on her blog too.  Obviously we will both give full credit to anyone who provides material with links to your blog or author page. I’m hoping that each post will link to a variety of reviews already written. I will be sharing widely on social media and hope all contributors will too.

There will be a master page listing the various locations along with the crime fiction novel set there – I’m thinking that series may work best, but I may be proved wrong. As the list grows crime fiction lovers will be able to access the list and find a recommendation based on location.

To give an example I’ve done a mock up for my favourite series, one that I started at the beginning and eagerly anticipate each new book, it is of course Peter James‘ Roy Grace series. Now I’m not for a minute imagining that Peter James will have time to write a post for me, but in theory if I can find a blogger who knows Brighton well, and has read at least one of these books, we can do a post. We can then link to reviews of as many of the twelve books in the series so far from around the blogosphere to make for a really collaborative post. Because that is one of the aims, to get us all talking and put different views, reviews and pictures onto one page celebrating a book all linked to the location.


One of the best things is this doesn’t have to feature the newest, latest book – we can use information from our archives. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of Oxford without thinking of Morse…

The only downside I can see is this might be a bit of a logistical nightmare as I source reviews, pictures, and blogger opinions with each location/book chosen. So in preparation I have set up a new email address: .

I would really appreciate it if you could write Put A Book On The Map in the subject field, or tweet me @cleo_bannister using hashtag #BookOnTheMap ideally with a location you know and the book/series  you’d choose to place there. The downside of my new email address which I’ve been meaning to do for a while is that many of my blog comments need moderation the first time I comment as I’ve changed the link on WordPress too – sorry!

So I’m really hoping you will join me, especially those of you who have been busily recommending books matching UK counties to bloggers Abbie from Bloomin Brilliant Books, Jen from Jen Med’s Book Reviews and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Reads who are currently doing an ambitious challenge to read a book from each county in the United Kingdom! #AroundTheUKIn144Books

Now as this project has been brewing a while, I had hoped to contact more of you personally to ask for help but a combination of a nasty virus and too much (paid) work meant I didn’t follow through with that part of the plan and as I didn’t want to delay any longer that’s another apology I owe you!

Please do get in touch – I’m aiming for a post every couple of weeks starting the first week of February and would really love it if you join me, be it to spread the word, make suggestions or use your contacts! I do want this to be a real collaboration and an opportunity for discussion for all of us. So keep your eyes peeled for locations you know, as I will be doing a call out for specific requests as we go along.

Please leave any thoughts, suggestions, questions or general comments in the box below or email me at .