Location, Location, Location #15

Location No. 15 – The Royal Liver Building, Liverpool

Today, on our literary journey through the pages of my novels, we’re back in Liverpool outside the Royal Liver Building, one of the most recognisable buildings in the city and the setting for a meeting between local Triad leader, Albie Chan and nightclub owner, Alan Green, two of my favourite supporting characters from You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Back in the 1990s, I considered myself fortunate to receive the instruction to carry out an insurance inspection of the building, so I’ve had the privilege of poking around all the nooks and crannies of this historic building from the basement boiler room to the feet of the famous birds that perch on top of the two clock towers!

Completed in 1911, coincidentally the same date as the house we visited last time we were in the city, the building was constructed as the head office of Royal Liver Assurance. It was one of the first buildings in the world to be built of reinforced concrete, and its design has much in common with early American skyscrapers. Thirteen floors high, looking out over the river Mersey, it is an impressive part of the Liverpool skyline, especially when viewed from the opposite bank. Two huge clock towers rise from the building, where two mythical Liver Birds perch (liver rhyming with fiver), each bearing a branch of seaweed in its beak. Various legends attach to these 18ft high birds and one of these is mentioned by Alan Green in the excerpt below.

After hours, the car park on the river side is deserted and rather desolate; the ideal location for Messrs Chan and Green to meet to discuss a bit of business. Let’s join them now…

Excerpt from You’ll Never Walk Alone

The late afternoon sunlight sparkled on the surface of the murky River Mersey. The fresh-smelling breeze, blowing from the estuary, almost masked the odour of the nearby tannery. Big Al and Joe were leaning on the polished burgundy paintwork of Big Al’s Jaguar XJ6. Big Al looked up at the clock on the Liver Building. It was almost half past six and Chan was late.

“What’s that chinky bastard up to, keeping me waiting like this? Our Pauline said she’s doing something special for our tea tonight. She’ll give me down the banks if I’m late home.” Big Al started to pace about.

Joe shrugged. “Dunno boss.” He looked around. “Eh up, this must be him,” said Joe pointing at the large black Mercedes rounding the corner of the Liver Building.

Big Al watched as the car cruised up to them. The driver got out. Big Al noticed he was limping. The driver opened the rear door and Albie Chan got out. He was immaculately dressed entirely in black, the only decoration being two tiny dragon heads facing each other on the mandarin collar of his shirt. Big Al was wearing a rather lived-in sports jacket and shapeless cords. Despite his wife’s protests, Alan Castle was a man who dressed for comfort rather than style.

Chan spoke first: “Mr Castle.”

“Albie, mate!” Chan flinched, unnoticed by Big Al, who continued, holding out his hand. “Call me Al, you know, like in the song?” Chan gazed at him blankly, ignoring the proffered hand. “Never mind.” Big Al clapped his hands together. “You know the story about Bella and Bertie? You know, the Liver Birds up on the towers there?” He pointed at the Liver Building behind them. Chan raised an eyebrow. “Well Bella’s the girl, looking out to sea for a sailor; and the other one, Bertie, he’s the fella, and he’s looking to see if the pubs are open yet, which they have been for the last thirty minutes.”

Bertha and Bertie

“Mr Castle, are you referring to the fact that I am a little late? I regret to say that I have had some unforeseen business to attend to. That business concerned the two individuals you spoke to me about last night, one of whom I had expected you to bring to me.”

Big Al frowned. Before he could say anything, Chan went on: “You telephoned me last night to say that my men had caused some disruption in your establishment. I explained the reason for the disturbance and you said you would handle it. After we spoke, I assumed that you would intervene and get hold of the man I was seeking straight away. You did not. Since you did not intervene, my men continued their pursuit. Later, there was an altercation involving the gentleman and his lady friend, which included Ju-long here,” Chan indicated his driver. “Unfortunately,” he went on, glaring at the hapless employee, “Ju-long and the two men with him were outmanoeuvred. Then this morning, when you still failed to deliver, I put out some feelers. Information led to Ju-long attempting to apprehend the target at The Adelphi Hotel, but I am disappointed to say that once again he failed.” Chan paused and gave Ju-long a sideways glace. “Ju-long knows precisely how disappointed I am.” Big Al looked at Ju-long, but his face remained impassive behind his dark glasses.

“So what happened?” asked Big Al.

“What has happened is irrelevant. What is important is that the man known as Pierre Bezukhov got away. I have unconcluded business with him, which I am anxious to complete. I thought I had explained this to you already. Clearly you did not understand the urgency of the matter. I need to apprehend him and I am reluctant to leave it in the hands of incompetents.”

There was a pause. Big Al said: “Well now, no worries, I’ll just get on the blower and ask whatshisname? New DJ…Joe?”

“Mark,” supplied Joe helpfully.

“Yeah, get on the blower to Mark. We’ll get hold of him, find the girl, and she in turn will lead us to your guy. Simple. You don’t need to have people running around town beating each other up. Although I’m surprised a big guy like him,” Big Al pointed at Ju-long, “couldn’t take on a couple of dancers.”

Joe detected a twitch on Ju-long’s otherwise inscrutable face.

“Bezukhov has displeased me and I want him found. I am inclined to leave it to you on this occasion since I have a temporary personnel problem.”

Big Al rubbed his hands together. “So this guy owes you money? What’s the deal? And more importantly, what’s my cut?”

“Let us see if you can come up with the goods first,” Chan said. “After all, it was your offer and at this stage you have failed to deliver.”

“Eh, I’m not just doing this outta the goodness of me heart.”

“Well you would not want anything untoward to happen to ‘The Pink Parrot’, would you? Even the stupidest of my men can torch a place.”

Big Al held his hands up: “Alright, alright, leave it with me.”

“Very good, Mr Castle, I will give you until the end of this week. Now run along, I wouldn’t want your supper to get cold.”


And finally, a little music to play us out. ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ written by the late Gerry Marsden. This version, sung by Liverpool band, Frankie Goes to Hollywood was in the charts at about the time the novel is set. The accompanying video is more recent, but gives you a feel for the location.

As an aside, I once had to take the ferry across to Birkenhead in my slippers because I’d locked myself out of our student house popping down to the corner shop for some milk. My three housemates had all gone home for the holidays and that was were the landlord stayed. Happy days!


You’ll Never Walk Alone is available from Amazon in paperback and ebook and on Kindle Unlimited
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Image credits: smarttravelapp.com, explore-liverpool.com

Location, Location, Location #14

Location No.14 – Northwich, Cheshire

This week’s stop on our literary journey through my novels takes us to the town of Northwich in Cheshire, on which I based the fictional town of Greaton, where the Ruling Council meets in my historical fantasy fiction novel for younger readers, Following the Green Rabbit.

Established in Roman times, Northwich is an attractive small town with many historic, half-timbered buildings, located in the middle of the Cheshire Plain, where the book is set. The town is most famous for the production of salt, which has been carried on since its establishment. However, a list of tolls for crossing over Northwich bridge in 1353 shows goods coming into the town including carcasses, fleeces, hides and skins, cloth, fish, alcoholic drinks, dairy products, building materials, household goods, metals, glass and millstones, so it would have been a busy little place.

Like Daresbury, I first travelled to the Northwich on a canal boat holiday. Of particular note for canal enthusiasts is the Anderton Boat Lift, a 50 foot vertical lock, which connects the Trent & Mersey Canal with the River Weaver. Sadly it was out of operation when we took our canal holiday in the late 1980s, but it has since been restored. It would be quite a thrill to take a boat up on it!

The slow pace of travelling the canal on a narrow boat and the silence of the flat, open Cheshire countryside stayed with me, and I drew on that memory when I came to write the description of journey that Bryony takes to Greaton, travelling over that same terrain at that same slow speed. The look and feel of the town seemed right, and although I don’t dwell on any description in the novel, the bustle of a busy market town plays in the background, contrasting with Bryony’s isolation as she sits in the intimidating atmosphere of the Court House waiting to submit her supplication to the Ruling Council in order to free her friends from the clutches of the evil Lord Childecott.

Excerpt from Following the Green Rabbit

Bryony was astonished at the noise and commotion which had greeted them on entering the town. There were people and animals everywhere. Thank goodness John knew where they should go. He reined Rosie in and they came to a halt opposite the Court House, outside the appropriately named Court House Tavern. Bryony slid off the horse, stamping the life back into her legs as John dismounted and patted Rosie’s neck.

“I need to get Rosie some water and let her rest up a while,” said John. “I believe the Ruling Council meets in the building over there,” he pointed at the Court House. “Do you want me to come with you?”

Bryony considered for a moment. “No thank you, John. You and Eliza have been so kind to us already. I wouldn’t want you to get into trouble with Lord Childecott by delivering the supplication with me.”

John nodded. “I’ll be waiting for you right here. He smiled at her encouragingly. “Good luck, Bryony.” He touched his hat. You’re a brave young lady, he thought as he watched her plod determinedly across the muddy track and up the steps to the Court House.

Bryony felt little of the confidence she shown outwardly to John but, as Hodge always said, if there’s something difficult to do, confront it head on and don’t delay. And so Bryony let her feet take her through the wide entrance to the Court House and into a large vestibule where an attendant was sitting at a tall desk. Bryony took a deep breath and approached. The attendant looked down his long bony nose at her.

“What business have you here, girl?” He squinted at her with obvious contempt.

“Sir, I have a supplication to offer to the Ruling Council.” Her voice echoed around the empty room.

“Council is already in session. No disturbances are permitted. You may wait for the secretary to the Chief of Council.” He pointed at a long bench on the other side of the room.

“But please, sir,” Bryony held up her supplication. “This is urgent.”

“You will wait.” The clerk waved her towards the bench with a bony hand.

Bryony crossed the stone floor and sat alone on the hard wooden bench next to the imposing doors which presumably led to the chamber where the Ruling Council was meeting. She glanced at the clerk who was busy writing in a heavy ledger and fingered the edges of the supplication, smoothing down the creases it had suffered from the journey. She stared around the high-ceilinged room then focussed on the door, willing it to open. She sighed. Her hope was ebbing away.


Following the Green Rabbit
available in paperback and ebook from Amazon

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Location, Location, Location #13

Location No. 13 – my former house in South Liverpool

On today’s stop on our literary journey through my novels we find ourselves outside the house in Liverpool where my novel writing journey began. It was here that I started writing The Silver Locket. Built in 1911, the house was pretty run down when we moved there in November 2000. It didn’t even have a kitchen, although it did have a ghost.

It had been rather a grand house in its time, owned by a widow of the Irish Free State and then by a master mariner, prior to the family we bought it from purchasing it in the 1950s. It even had a flagpole out the back. One of the upstairs rooms still had a push-bell to summon the housekeeper. She would, no doubt, have lived in, and the attic rooms at the top of the house would have been the servants’ quarters at one time.

I believe our ghost was that of the former housekeeper.

There was no ghostly apparition, but there was definitely a presence; a warm, benevolent presence that I would sense when the house was quiet and I was upstairs, usually in the day-time. She’d descend from the attic, traverse the landing, passing the two front bedrooms, then turn to go downstairs, at which point the feeling of someone being there would evaporate. The cats were aware of her too. If one of them was in the bedroom with me, they’d look up and follow her progress. Even my husband couldn’t deny that there was ‘something’.

Over time, I came to think of her as Hodge the Housekeeper, who graced the pages of The Silver Locket. Subsequently, as a younger women at an earlier time, she turned up as the housekeeper in Following the Green Rabbit (you can’t waste a good character).

Photo found on Pinterest

We spent several years doing up the house, finishing with the little attic room with the dormer window (top left in the photo), which had a little white-painted fireplace, very like this one. It was this old, untouched room that I translocated to the house, 20 miles away in Rufford, which Laura inherits at the start of The Silver Locket.

The Prologue begins:
“The silver locket hides beneath the loose floorboard in a small attic room. Sunlight streams through the window pointing towards the tarnished trinket which waits patiently for its secrets to be unlocked.”

There was, indeed, a loose floorboard by the little fire place, but sadly there was no tarnished trinket to be found in that hidey-hole. I was so disappointed! But where my locket came from is a different story.

Now, let us join Laura who, having settled back in the old leather armchair and closed her eyes, has the first of her mysterious dreams, which seem to be connected to a little locket she’s found.

Excerpt from ‘The Silver Locket’

Laura is in the little attic room. Sunlight and birdsong stream through the open window. She looks around. The room is simply furnished, with a table and chair in one corner and an overstuffed couch facing the window. A large chest has been placed under the window and a small silver framed mirror is propped against the wall on the mantelshelf over the fireplace.

She approaches the fireplace, intrigued by the metal fire surround. Someone has started to decorate the raised sunflower pattern in yellow and green paint. Then she notices that she has a paint brush in her hand. It is she who has been carefully painting in the flowers on the dull metal.

She looks in the little mirror and is surprised to see another face reflected in the glass, the face of a young girl, her long dark hair drawn back in a thick plait. She is wearing a white cotton pinafore and the front of it is stained with yellow and green paint.

“Miss Cathy! Miss Cathy! Are you up here? What are you doing?”

The face looks guilty and turns toward the door.

The woman appears in the doorway, her face flushed from climbing the stairs.

“There you are… and look at the state of you,” she says. There is an Irish lilt to her voice and although she is frowning, she doesn’t seem cross.

Laura feels the girl’s guilt and puts the paint brushes in their water jar, which is balancing on the narrow mantelshelf.

The woman is well-built and dressed in a stiff white blouse and long black skirt, Laura judges her to be in her thirties. She advances into the room and stands next to her, viewing the newly-decorated fireplace.

“That looks much more cheerful, so it does. This little sitting room of mine could do with a spruce up, not that I have time to use it.”  The woman turns and smiles. “Now come and get cleaned up.  Your mother’s ready for her afternoon tea.”

As she is gently escorted from the room, Laura catches sight of her reflection in the little mirror. The face looks pleased, but her eyes look sad.

Obediently she follows the woman down the narrow stairs onto the landing. The house is familiar, but the furnishings are different and the layout wrong in some way, which Laura can’t identify. The woman takes her into a bedroom and pours water from a heavy-looking jug decorated with dark blue roses into a matching porcelain bowl.

“Now wash those hands while I find you a clean pinafore. You know how a mess upsets your mother.”


The Silver Locket
(written under pen name Holly Atkins) is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon.

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Psst! – Fancy a look inside my old house? This site still has the photos from when were selling it.

Me and COVID plus Imagining a New Place by novelist Chris Hall

First of all, let me reassure you, I have not got the virus!

A little while ago, I was delighted to be invited to write a guest blog by writer, blogger and podcaster, da-AL. Then, just as she was preparing to publish my piece her husband came down with Covid! Thankfully he’s on the mend, and so is she, having also fallen sick subsequently.

Talking of masks, as she does, you can see one of mine on my desk in the photo of Luna, next to my ‘Pride and Prejudice’ mug. Looking at that messy desk, I could write a whole post about that. But I didn’t.

Instead, here it is, my guest post, in which I explain how my new novel came to be…

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

‘Sunset over the Berg River ©River Tides Guesthouse’ – where author Chris Hall stayed when she began writing her book, "Song of the Sea Goddess." Owner Mike Harvey is a good friend of hers and the photo is from his website. ‘Sunset over the Berg River ©River Tides Guesthouse’ – where author Chris Hall stayed when she began writing her book, “Song of the Sea Goddess.” Owner Mike Harvey is a good friend of hers and the photo is from his website.

Writers get to build whatever world they please — sometimes our novels bend the truth only somewhat — other times they invent entire new gallaxies.

My works in progress, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat,” and “Tango & the Sitting Cat,” are set in fictitious towns within Los Angeles during 2002 and 2003. Back then, COVID-19 didn’t exist…

Note: Earlier this week, my husband became feverish and unwell. Turns out he has COVID-19. He’s doing his best to get well while I feel healthy and am awaiting my test results. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been super careful. I’m letting you know this as a reminder that one can never be…

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Location, Location, Location #12

Location No.12 – Sefton Park, Liverpool

Today’s stop on our literary journey through my novels takes us back to Liverpool, to Sefton Park where a little piece of the action in You’ll Never Walk Alone plays out.

I lived within a short walk of Sefton Park for more than 15 years, moving from one bedsit, to three different flats and eventually my own house. We only have a fleeting glimpse of the park in the book, but the location gives the narrative a sense of place, particularly to anyone familiar with the city.

And now, as I imagine myself back in the park, I’m engulfed by a huge wave of nostalgia, which threatens to stay my fingers while I wallow in memories… but no, we must press on!

Sefton Park is a huge and glorious public park; a green island set amongst row upon row of terraced houses dating from the early 1900s, and encircled by impressive old mansions, once the homes of rich merchants, civic dignitaries and even a foreign embassy or two, although many of these have been converted into rather desirable flats. Over the years I spent countless hours in Sefton Park, wandering its paths, feeding the ducks on the lake, and on occasion, watching my friend’s husband playing cricket or, more accurately, sitting in the sun gossiping over a glass or two of wine (sorry, Jim, you scored how many?).

In all the time I lived there I don’t  think I ever took a photo of any of the wonderful aspects of the park, so let me hand you over to another ‘tour guide’ whose blog I came across the other day. Take a moment for a spin around the park to see why it’s such a special place.

Click on the LINK

I hope that gave you a little flavour of a true Liverpool gem.

And now, we’ll take a tiny detour into Lark Lane, which is just across the road and where, if you’d met up with friends in the park of an afternoon, you’d be sure to end up.

Lark Lane, Liverpool

Lark Lane was, and still is, a lively little street, full of trendy bars, ‘proper’ pubs, well-priced eateries and quirky shops. It’s popular with students and locals alike, and perfect for a Sunday lunch or a weekend night out. Needless to say, my friends and I spent a fair amount of time hanging out here over the years.

Now, back to the book. The house in which my principal characters live in You’ll Never Walk Alone, is based on a very similar house, also with a Chinese landlord, where I rented a room, back in 1984-5. Just a stone’s throw away from the northern edge of the park it’s a pleasant 15 minute walk over the grass and along the paths to Lark Lane where we join Gary and Bob for a lunchtime pint. Of course they choose The Albert, a traditional ale house, over one of the poncy wine bars (as Bob would, no doubt, say).

The Albert, Lark Lane

Excerpt from You’ll Never Walk Alone

Bob looked up from the Echo he’d found on the seat next to him as Gary put their drinks down on the scuffed wooden table.

“Cheers mate,” said Bob as he picked up his pint. He swallowed some of the golden liquid. “I keep thinking about that Pierre guy. Why would he have a load of Chinese thugs after him?”

“Who knows? Maybe we should ask Tony?”

Someone switched on the television. The highlights from the previous day’s football were showing. Bob and Gary turned their attention to the game. Neither of them noticed the three smartly dressed oriental gentlemen who’d just entered the pub.

Inside The Albert

The match highlights had finished as Gary and Bob drained their second pints. “Better get off then, I suppose,” said Gary putting his glass down on the table. Bob nodded.

Gary glanced towards the bar as he picked up his jacket. He grabbed his friend’s arm. Bob looked at him: “Wha…”

Gary put his mouth close to Bob’s ear: “Don’t look round, but there are three Chinese guys at the bar. “D’you think they’re watching us?”

Bob frowned and started to turn around. Gary jerked his sleeve. “Don’t look…”

“Don’t be daft, what would they want with us?”

“The thing with Lucy,” Gary hissed, raising his eyebrows.

“Look, you’re just being paranoid. C’mon, let’s get off.”

Gary let go of his arm. “Alright, but maybe we should get a cab?”

Bob rolled his eyes and put on his jacket, glancing across to the bar as he did so. The three Chinese guys were busy chatting and didn’t even look up. “Okay, let’s go.”

As the door swung shut behind Gary and Bob, the three men finished their drinks and headed after them.

Walking through Sefton Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon – what could possibly happen?

Bob and Gary crossed the road into Sefton Park passing a queue of noisy children by an ice cream van. As was usual on a warm Sunday afternoon, the park was busy with families, couples and dog walkers. Bob sometimes went fishing in the central lake, not that he’d ever caught anything. Few people did. Gary cast a look over his shoulder, but there was no sign of the Chinese guys. Bob was probably right, he was being paranoid. They plodded across the grass, skirting around a football match between two teams of random players, before reaching the edge of the boating lake.

Suddenly they were aware of someone running behind them; there was a shout. Both turned to see one of the Chinese guys from the pub. The other two weren’t far behind.

“Shit,” Gary muttered under his breath.

“Look, we’ll just have to face up to them. There’s loads of people around. It’ll be fine, no-one’s going to attack us here in broad daylight,” Bob muttered back, flexing his fingers ready to fight if need be.

The Chinese guy slowed down to a walk and approached them. His friends had caught up and had fallen in just behind him. The guy in front reached into his jacket pocket.


You’ll Never Walk Alone
is available from Amazon
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and on Kindle Unlimited

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the rest of the world

Image credits:
Liverpool Echo, Visit Liverpool, Trip Advisor

Location, Location, Location #11

Location No. 11 – The West Coast National Park, South Africa

This time, on our literary journey through the pages of my books, we’re back in South Africa to explore a little more of the beautiful west coast, where Song of the Sea Goddess is set. My imaginary little town isn’t a single place, but an amalgam of different locations, all quite close to each other, but brought together so as to satisfy the needs of the narrative.

Today’s visit is to a key site for the story. So pause, feel the African sun on your back, breathe in the salty sea air mixed with the sweet, spicy scent of the fynbos under your feet, and join me in the West Coast National Park, where the flora and fauna are protected and visitors now step lightly on the land.

I first visited the park on a day trip with my cousin and her husband, while they were visiting from the UK. It’s a lovely place for a walk by the lagoon, a little bird spotting and a pleasant lunch.

As a quick aside, the photo for the cover of my short story collection was taken at the restaurant.

These attractive yellow birds are weaver birds, whose nests fill the trees above the outdoor seating area. The males painstakingly weave their intricate nests out of grasses and the fussy females make their choice. If they don’t like them they destroy them and start again.

Better than a day trip is a couple of nights spent in the self-catering accommodation in the park. Some of the cottages are very isolated so that once the day visitors have left, it’s just you and nature and the night.

On one such visit, the sun had slipped beneath the horizon, not long after the photo above was taken, and we were sitting contemplating the dying embers of the braai (barbeque). Suddenly we were roused by a strange clicking sound. Lots of clicking. There was something around the other side of the cottage. Slowly we crept around the building.

What an amazing sight! One after another, a long ribbon of eland were walking past the cottage between us and the lagoon, no more than 20 yards away from where we were standing. There must have been about 50 of them, knees clicking as they walked, apparently so they can keep in touch with one another in the dark, or so I was once told by a park ranger.

Listen carefully. My increasingly arthritic knees can relate!

And now we come to the specific location and its role in the story. In the excerpt below we meet Jannie, one of our main characters, and catch an early glimpse of a mysterious, mythical figure who dives from the ‘looming headland’, which is a key part of the local landscape.

This is the ‘borrowed’ location, Kraal Bay, on the Langebaan Lagoon in the National Park. This is the place where Eve’s footprint was discovered: a set of fossilized footprints left in the sand some 117,000 years ago by one of the first people to walk on this shore.

My imaginary headland is possibly a little more whale-shaped, but that is the writer’s mind at work. Knowing the paths of the ancient people ran through this place, what else might be eventually be discovered beneath this domed hillside?

Kraal Bay – sanparks.co.za

Excerpt from ‘Song of the Sea Goddess

Jannie stretches out his legs and breathes in the warm sea air, which is laden with the smell of diesel and freshly caught fish. He smiles to himself. This is the life, he thinks, far away from all his cares and responsibilities. It’s been a stroke of luck that his brother, Robert landed a two month contract working up-country, and asked him if he would like to come and mind his little house on the coast while he was away. Robert, a long-time widower, lives alone now his family’s grown up and moved to Cape Town. He didn’t want to leave his house unoccupied. People are for the most part honest in the little town where he’s settled, but with more mouths to feed and fewer jobs, no one’s property’s safe for long.

Jannie has his own problems back home. Much as he loves his extended family, it was all becoming too much. What with his own grown up children, their children and assorted aunties, nephews and nieces constantly calling upon him for help, he’d really had enough. It wasn’t as if they couldn’t manage without him. It would be good for them, especially his four sons, to stand on their own two feet for a change.

He casts his eyes over the small harbour, looking out for Sam in his little fishing boat, Porcupine, which he’d helped him repair over a week or two when he first arrived. Jannie likes to keep busy, and was pleased to be able to use the skills he’d gained during his fifteen years at sea. But there’s no sign of Sam or little Porcupine. Perhaps they’ve gone further up the coast for a while, he thinks. Sam might be turning a better profit for his catch at one of the other busier harbours up the coast.

Remembering the past, Jannie chuckles to himself and closes his eyes. He’d run away to sea with his friend when they were just twelve years old. Carrying a little bag of warm clothes, he’d snuck out of his mother’s shack while she was sleeping and met his older sister up by the highway. She had a job in a bar next to Cape Town harbour, and she knew an officer on one of the deep sea fishing boats who would help them once they were on board. Jannie recalls standing in the almost pitch black on the quayside, his body swaying, thinking it was the ground under him which was moving, when in fact it was the looming steel hull of the ship in front of him. And oh, they had been so sick once the ship was underway…

Shouts and running feet jolt Jannie back to the present. The harbour master, jamming his peaked cap on his head, rushes past him towards the southern end of the harbour, where a small group of people have gathered. Jannie stands up and shakes himself, then hurries after the harbour master to join the gathering crowd, jumping up onto the harbour wall to get a better view of what’s caught their interest.

A tall, slender woman in long skirts is standing on the edge of the headland across the estuary. Her arms are held out in a welcoming gesture as dozens of whales break the surface of the waves before her. She lifts her head skywards, spreading her arms out widely, in a pose that reminds Jannie of the statue he’d so admired, long ago in Rio de Janeiro.

The woman opens her mouth and a loud, ululating song resonates across the bay. Suddenly the whales take to the air; wave upon wave of them. Jannie blinks and shakes his head. What’s going on? The woman’s song grows louder. The whales are flying! Jannie pinches himself.

The sky darkens, filled with the huge beasts. Then the song stops.

A close up of the woman’s face appears before Jannie’s eyes. She smiles revealing a row of pointed teeth. A selkie! He’d heard talk of these when he’d been sailing in northern waters. Jannie feels the harbour wall ripple beneath his feet.

Her face disappears. Up on the headland he watches her dive into the ocean. Her silver seal tail flaps once above the waves, and then she’s gone.

Jannie looks around. He’s alone on the harbour wall. A man passes close by him, he glances up and smiles, tipping his broad-brimmed hat in Jannie’s direction, while behind him, people are going about their business as usual. Jannie sits down on the wall and rubs his eyes. He looks up, the headland is deserted. Far out in the ocean he sees a solitary whale breaching.

Jannie returns to the white plastic chair that he’s claimed for himself and sits down. He rests his head in his hands, his thick brown-black dreadlocks spilling over his shoulders. It’s been more than ten years since he gave up the booze. So what kind of strange vision has he just had?


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Location, Location, Location #9

Speke Hall, Liverpool

Today’s stop on our literary tour through my novels takes us to a specific location in South Liverpool. Grade 1 listed Speke Hall has a fascinating history, and a whole novel could have been constructed around a number of events associated with the house and its inhabitants. However, it purely serves as a backdrop to my story.

My familiarity with the building is connected to the tea-rooms there, and not just for the coffee and cake, although as any writer knows, that would be reason enough. It was, among a number of venues, where I used to meet with members of my team to conduct their appraisals. We were all home-based workers, probably some of the first back in the early noughties, and following a remark from one of my neighbours about the number of ‘gentleman callers’ I’d had to my house, I realised that having home-based meetings was probably not such a good idea. Hence I came to know the nearby tea-rooms at Speke Hall rather well. Not all the meetings were easy, but the lovely setting made the whole business a little less stressful, and allowed my reputation to recover.

Speke Hall – tea-rooms and visitors’ centre

Speke Hall is a beautiful old manor house, with parts dating back to Tudor times, and it’s just the kind of place that wicked Lord Childecott, the antagonist in Following the Green Rabbit, might have lived, although I had to whisk it away to the next county for the purposes of my story. In addition, the estate’s former farm buildings, which were converted into the tea-rooms, could quite easily have served as one of the outbuildings in which Mr Eyre was imprisoned by the evil Lord, if you picture them without windows and with a thatched roof, as they probably would have been in the past.

I was deliberately vague about the time-period in which the novel was set in order to avoid becoming embroiled in too much historical research, but we’re somewhere in the late sixteenth century. Like William Norris, a Royalist, who lived in Speke Hall at the time, Lord Childecott would be suspicious of both the French and the Jacobites. Of course, my antagonist is suspicious of any stranger, but to tell you more would give the game away if you haven’t read the novel.

I had in mind the Great Hall with its grand fireplace and oak paneling, as the setting for the scene below.

Speke Hall, The Great Hall

Excerpt from ‘Following the Green Rabbit

Up at the Manor House, Lord Childecott was getting nowhere with his new prisoner. Despite his best efforts, Mr Eyre was failing to co-operate. True, he hadn’t resorted to violence yet, and that was always a possibility. His chief enforcer, Smiler, so named because of his lack of teeth, was a dab hand with the thumb screws and other less than dainty tools. However, he had a feeling that such methods would only work if Eyre was to watch them being applied to someone he cared about. If local gossip was true, then he knew just who that would be.

Lord Childecott paced the room while Mr Eyre sat patiently on the chair to which he had been bound. Since his capture that afternoon, he’d been locked up in a dusty outbuilding. He had tried to find a way out, but although he’d succeeded in freeing himself from the ropes which tied his hands and feet, escape from the building had proved impossible. Now it was evening. He was hungry and thirsty and he was facing his captor and his questions.

“I’ll ask you again, Eyre, where are you from?”

“And I’ll tell you again. I came from the other side of the wood.”

“You were on my land and that’s forbidden.” Lord Childecott glared at him. What do you want here?” He strode over and fingered Mr Eyre’s jacket. “And why are you so strangely dressed?”

Had his hands not been bound to the chair, Mr Eyre would have raised them in a gesture of exasperation. “If I told you where I’m from, you wouldn’t believe me.”

“Try me,” Lord Childecott snarled, an inch from Mr Eyre’s face. Mr Eyre tried to avoid grimacing at the stench of Lord Childecott’s rotten-toothed breath.

“I believe I’ve come from the future. More than two hundred years in the future, judging by what you’re wearing and the style of the buildings here,” Mr Eyre replied glancing around the room.

“Don’t trifle with me, Eyre.”

“I’m not. Look, you say I’m strangely dressed. This is how gentlemen are accustomed to dress in the first decade of the twentieth century. Look in my pocket” he indicated his jacket pocket. Childecott didn’t move. “Well, go on, look.”

Childecott reached into Mr Eyre’s pocket and brought out the Box Brownie.

“That’s called a camera. It’s a new invention. Something from the future,” said Mr Eyre. “It takes pictures, likenesses if you will.” Mr Eyre thought for a moment. “Like an automated artist.”

Childecott turned the camera over in his hands. He put it to his ear and shook it. “In this little box?”

“Do be careful with that,” Mr Eyre pleaded.

Childecott tossed the camera onto a nearby couch where it rolled over and came to rest on its side. “I don’t believe you. Some foreign toy, no doubt,” he sneered. “Now, who are you working for? The Jacobites? The French?”

“I’ve told you. I’m not working for anyone and I’m not a spy. I’ve told you what I believe has happened.”

“Enough! You are trying my patience.” Lord Childecott thought for a moment, then turned to one of his men who was standing by the door. “Lock him up again and fetch Martha Stebbins, I’m sure we can give you an incentive to talk once you see what Smiler here can do to your friend Mistress Stebbins.”

Two of Lord Childecott’s enforcers untied Mr Eyre, then taking him firmly by the arms, frog-marched him from the room.

“No! No!” He struggled against them wildly. “You leave Martha out of this. I…” At Lord Childecott’s signal one of the guards stuffed a grubby piece of material in to Mr Eyre’s mouth and he could speak no more.

As the two enforcers dragged the struggling Mr Eyre across the courtyard and back to the barn, he noticed a flash of movement behind the Manor House. The guards, however, were too preoccupied with trying to manoeuvre their resisting captive to notice the two boys watching from the other side of the yard. Mr Eyre was manhandled through the barn door, all the time protesting through his gag. One of the men yanked it out of his mouth.

“Go on, you can yell all you like out here. No one will hear you.” He laughed and heaved the door closed, dropping the heavy wooden plank into place and barring the door shut.

Mr Eyre got to his feet and started to hammer on the door with his bound hands, bellowing at the top of his voice to be released.

“Right then, we’d better go and fetch old Martha,” the guard said to his companion as they stomped off, leaving Mr Eyre cursing and yelling and banging on the barn door.


Following the Green Rabbit
is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon at a discounted price
for the month of December.

USA UK ~ CAN ~ AUS ~ IND
the rest of the world


Image credits: Rodhullandemu, wikiwand, countrylife.co.uk

Location, Location, Location #8

Location No.8 – The Isle of Man

Next on our literary journey through the pages of my novels, we’re going to hop over to the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea, which lies between northern Great Britain and the north of Ireland, where we’re going to catch up with Pierre, our handsome leading man from You’ll Never Walk Alone, who’s treating Lucy to a little break away (although, if you’ve read the book, you’ll know he has another agenda).

I have fond memories of the Isle of Man, even though I only ever visited as part of my job as an insurance surveyor. I used to go there for three or four days at a time a couple times a year, but unlike Pierre and Lucy, who travel on the Isle of Man ferry, I used to fly over from Liverpool on a little Shorts 360 airplane.


Although I was working, I still managed to see quite a lot of the place between appointments. The island is probably best known for the notoriously hazardous annual TT motor cycle race. On one occasion I drove my hire car around the famous circuit, although at a considerably more modest pace than the TT competitors, of course. During the initial draft of the book, I’d been planning for Pierre to take part in the race, but the logistics became problematic. Maybe he’ll return to the island to do just that in a sequel to You’ll Never Walk Alone that my characters are still begging me to write.

I was also tempted to take Lucy and Pierre on a grand tour of the island, but it would have got in the way of the story, so I contented myself with a brief interlude in which they drive out to Peel Castle on the west coast of the island. It’s a partially restored Viking ruin, and a pretty, peaceful location where once I sat overlooking harbour to dictate a report. My typist (yes, it was that long ago) told me she wondered why she could hear seagulls in the background.


Lucy and Pierre stay in the fictional Royal Hotel, where Pierre ‘has a bit of business’ to attend to. It’s loosely based on the Palace Hotel and Casino, one of the places I stayed in during my visits to the island. It made a fine and fitting backdrop to the story, although I never went to the casino itself where much of the action in this part of the book is set. Nor did I visit the ‘back of house’ areas in that particular hotel. Trust me, it’s not always a good idea to stay, much less eat, in a place where you’ve inspected the kitchens. However, my knowledge of hotel security did come into play.

Excerpt from ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’

Pierre crept along the second floor corridor. He’d left Lucy sleeping. As far as she was concerned, they were just going to help Verushka get away from the abusive Russian. Pierre hadn’t mentioned the jewels again. He decided he was going to make sure he got his hands on them himself, and since he still had the passkey and d-lock, what could go wrong? Provided he was careful.

He counted off the room numbers until he reached 287. Even from outside the door he could hear the Russian snoring. Pierre took out the passkey and ran it through the slot next to the door handle. The indicator light changed from red to green and the lock clicked open. Pierre paused and listened again; satisfied, he opened the door gently and slipped into the room. He closed the door quietly. The room was shrouded in darkness. The Russian snored on. Pierre could also hear Verushka’s slow, quiet breathing; she was also asleep.

Pierre moved silently over to the wardrobe and took out the pen torch he’d borrowed from behind the bar downstairs. As he opened the door, the Russian spluttered and muttered something. Pierre froze and killed the torch beam. He heard Denisovich turn over. Minutes passed. He heard the Russian breathing heavily again.

All clear, Pierre thought. He switched the torch back on and fitted the electronic device into the lock of the safe. The little door swung open. Pierre reached in and drew out a thick, velvet covered jewel case. He eased back the little golden clasp and opened it. There was the necklace, with the matching earrings and a brooch; the complete set.

As Pierre stood up he felt the cold, hard barrel of a gun press against the back of his head. ‘Turn around slowly and give that to me,’ said Verushka softly.


You’ll Never Walk Alone
is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon at a discounted price
for the month of December.

USA UK ~ CAN ~ AUS IND
the rest of the world


Image credits:
Isle of Man Tourism Board, Isle of Man Newspapers (David Kneale); jetphotos.com (Fraser McLachlan); Trip Advisor; Best Western Hotels

Location, Location, Location #4

The Coat of Arms of Jamaica
The Coat of Arms of Jamaica

Part 4 of our literary journey through my novels takes us far, far away from my former Liverpool home, the principal setting of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, to the gritty and exotic island of Jamaica.

Liverpool has had a small, but significant Caribbean community since at least the early part of the 19th century. Concentrated in south-central Liverpool, a vibrant social scene is associated with it, which includes a number of night clubs and dance halls. Some of these only just survived into the 1980s, following the infamous Toxteth riots of 1981, like the fictitious New Jamaica Club where Gina finds the first clue to the whereabouts of her missing father, Godrell Clark.

The occasional late night drink in my student days at one or two of those surviving social clubs is as close as I’ve ever got to Jamaica though. Of course, it would have been wonderful to visit the country in the ‘interests of research’, but that wasn’t going to happen.

Keen to hit a note of authenticity, I spent some time on Mr Google, but that didn’t really give me the feel for the country I was seeking. So what was I going to do to get under the skin of the place?

Well, it probably won’t surprise you to discover that I turned to the world of fiction. I’ve always enjoyed reading novels set in places I’ve visited, or wanted to visit, so that was the voyage of discovery I took. The books I found were these.

Augustown by Kei Miller is a superb book! Just what I was looking for. It gave me the real essence of the people and the place and is a wonderfully engaging, yet gritty, story. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James is a much more challenging read, both in terms of the language and content. I regret to say I abandoned it about half way through. I could have persisted, and the reviews it’s received suggest that I should have. But life’s too short… and I had a book to write.

One final piece in my journey. How to get the sound and rhythm of my Jamaican characters’ speech? Well, it just so happened that an early series of the British-French TV series, ‘Death in Paradise’ was being aired on TV here. Policeman, Dwayne Myers, played by British actor, Danny John-Jules, provided the perfect voice for me to play back in my mind as I was writing.

Now, will you feel the sun on your face and the heat rising from the dusty ground?

Excerpt from ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’

The afternoon sun beat down on the dusty road outside C&J Motors where Dixon Jones was polishing the bonnet of a boxy blue Volvo. He hummed along to the song on the radio, which was playing inside the workshop. He wiped the sweat from his face with the sleeve of his overalls and stood back to admire his handiwork. Alerted by the sound of an engine, he looked around to see a shiny red MG pull up in a cloud of dust. The door opened and the driver got out.

“Hey Dixon man, what you doin’ workin’ in all this heat?”

“Hey Godrell, what you doin’ drivin’ up like that, stirrin’ up all the dust?”

The two men greeted each other shaking hands, gripping thumbs and bumping fists three times before crossing their forearms across their chests. Dixon extended his arm around his friend’s shoulder. “So, let me get you a beer and you can tell me what brings you all the way out here from old Kingston Town.”

Godrell sat down on the bench in front of the workshop in the shade of the old mango tree while Dixon went through to the little back kitchen to fetch two bottles of Red Stripe. He handed one to Godrell before sitting down beside him. They chinked their bottles together.

“Seriously though,” said Godrell. “Why are you workin’ when you don’t have to? That’s what we employ the boys for.” He looked around, “Hey, where’s Jimmy and Crazy anyway?”

“Oh, they’re deliverin’ a car we just sold. Over on the other side of the island,” replied Dixon. “The ’64 Chevy. Nice price we got too.” He looked over at the Volvo. “I just like to do a bit of tinkerin’ and polishin’ now and then.” He laughed. “You is the real sleepin’ partner, but I like to keep my hand in here and there,” he said. He punched Godrell’s shoulder. “You just concentrate on makin’ a fortune wit’ those modern records in that shiny new studio of yours.”

“Sure, man. It’s the music what makes the world go round, eh?” Godrell did a little shimmy, making the gold chains around his neck rattle together.

“So, anyway, what do I owe the pleasure of your company, this fine afternoon?”

“Ah,” Godrell nodded, “just you look at this.” He pulled a folded up copy of the Kingston Gleaner out of his back pocket. He unfolded the newspaper and turned to the overseas news. “Look here,” he pointed to a small article and handed the paper to Dixon.

Dixon read the headline: ‘New Jamaica Club opens in Liverpool.’ There was a picture of the building with a man standing in the doorway at the top of the steps. The article went on: ‘The former Jamaica Club opens its doors again, with an exhibition of photographs and documents relating to the Caribbean community in Liverpool. People are invited to come and tell their stories and trace their past.”

Dixon turned to Godrell, “My, oh my, in our Liverpool home. I remember that building.” He smiled. “That whole scene…” his eyes glazed over for a moment. “And all those things we got up to when we were off the boat,” he grinned, hugging himself, his eyes dancing.

“Well, when you’re in a band…”

“…it’s only to be expected.” They both laughed.

“You remember the girls?”

Dixon looked down. “I remember that one girl,” he smiled. “But she had already fallen for somebody else.” He sighed, “Marie… that was her name. I suppose she married him and lived happily ever after.” He took a long pull from his beer and shook his head. “It was long ago, eh? Another time, another life.”

“But there’s more,” Godrell tapped the photograph. “See that man standing outside?” Dixon read the caption again and shrugged. Godrell continued. “It was Gracie Lloyd who showed me this. She’s the man’s sister. She came around this morning, hammering on the studio door and kicking up a ruckus, just to tell me that her brother here’s been trying to get hold of me.”

“That man’s Gracie’s brother is he?” Dixon peered at the photograph. “Devon Lloyd,” he shook his head. “I can’t say I remember him.”

“No, I don’t either. But I didn’t even know Gracie had an elder brother ‘til she showed me this.”

“And he’s a-wanting to get in touch wit’ you all the way from Liverpool, eh?” Dixon chuckled. “Maybe your past is catching up with you finally!”

“And what past would I have to worry about?” said Godrell, his eyes widening in an imitation of innocence.

Dixon raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.

“Anyway, it got me thinking. About the band,” said Godrell. “I thought maybe we could get the boys together one last time; have a reunion of the famous Kingston Jazz Cats. What d’you say, man?”

Dixon thought for a moment. “Those were the days,” he muttered to himself. He looked up to the left, then up to the right, pursing his lips. Finally he nodded and said, “I think it’s a damn fine idea, Godrell Clarke. I think it’s a damn fine idea.”


You’ll Never Walk Alone: available in paperback, ebook and on KindleUnlimited. Also available from other online stores.

Image credits: Wikipedia, Goodreads

Location, Location, Location #3

Location No 3 – Preston, Lancashire

Preston, in the north west of England, is not the loveliest of towns, although it has some hidden gems. Too much 20th century development has trampled over the heart of the place, which dates back to Roman times. Preston came to prominence as far back as the 12th century, but the city’s history is not why this location is important to our literary journey today.

Once again, we’re delving into some of the background to The Silver Locket.

I was working in Lancashire County Council’s offices in Preston when I started writing the novel, and working in that public sector environment somehow led me to Laura’s occupation: a translator for the EU in Brussels (remember we’re back in 1989). It was my daily commute there from Liverpool through Rufford that really kick-started the novel. Driving fifty miles each way gives a writer lots of thinking time, in between listening to Radio 4, and I wrote many scenes in my head whilst on the road. Naturally, I couldn’t resist a little nod to the city in which I was working.

My desk at County Hall overlooked the Lancashire Records Office, which Laura visits to find out more about the family who lived in the house she’d inherited. It’s a strange building, elevated on stilts. I never did find out why. Nor did I actually visit the place. My knowledge of its operation came from a friend of mine, who was training as an archivist at the time. That’s Jo.

Real people, or sometimes just their names, do occasionally find themselves recreated fictionally in my books. The surname of the Reverend who married Cathy’s parents was borrowed from a colleague. He was rather pleased when I told him.

But back to our setting and the jeweller’s shop that Laura visits. Conveniently, there is (or at least was) a tiny jeweller’s shop, almost exactly as described in the book. Rather dark and mysterious, it had just the kind of owner who’d have the right connections to point Laura in the right direction to solve the mystery of her locket. More about where that takes her another time.

You’ll also notice I make references to the weather. Preston must be the wettest and windiest place I’ve ever encountered!

Excerpt from ‘The Silver Locket’

Twenty minutes later, the train pulled in at Preston. The station was larger and grander than Laura expected, with its curved wrought ironwork and glass roof supported on ornate columns which harked back the Victorian age of steam. From what Laura could see, Preston itself was rather less impressive than its railway station, although she was pleased to see a large Debenhams store on the corner. She might call in on the way back. Now she’d decided to stay on at the house for a while, she could do with a more extensive wardrobe than the suitcase-full she had brought.

Laura followed the directions given to her by the archivist she had spoken to at the Records Office on the phone the previous day. As she passed the solid square building of the county council offices, Laura imagined the staff inside scratching away at piles of bureaucracy, much like their counterparts in Brussels.

The Records Office was as described: an oblong building on stilts. Maybe the building was so strangely elevated to protect the records from flood, although despite the volume of the recent rain, it seemed unlikely that flood waters would ever reach such a height.

The archivist, Jo, who she’d spoken to on the phone, was an attractive young woman with long blonde hair. She was a great help, setting her up with the microfiche records of baptisms and burials from St. Mary’s church. Laura scanned through the records. It didn’t take her long to get used to navigating through the closely written text. Laura knew that the date of Cathy’s baptism had to before 1912. If Peter had been 22 when he’d died, as it said on the gravestone, he would have been born in 1890, just over a hundred years ago. Cathy was obviously his younger sister, so she should start looking at the entries after 1890.

And there it was: Catherine Emily Martland, baptised 31st March 1897. Her parents’ names, Thomas Edgar and Sarah Elizabeth, of Rufford, Lancashire. The ceremony performed by the Reverend Josiah Blackburn.

At last, here was the proof that Cathy had existed. This had to be the Cathy who experiences she had lived out in the two dreams, she’d had. Dreams that had been so vivid, it had been as if she was Cathy herself. Laura had never had dreams like these before. She wasn’t exactly disturbed by them, but it was strange. Maybe it was as Helen had said. She was just so immersed in the house that she was bound to dream about it. But still, why wasn’t she dreaming about her aunt? Why were the dreams taking her back to an earlier period in the house’s history?

Laura exchanged the baptisms sheet for the burials one. There was no record of the burials of Thomas or Peter. The woman in the churchyard had said that they never found Thomas’s body. Maybe Peter’s body had been lost too. Sarah’s burial was dated 18th July 1916.  She and Cathy had already moved out of the house, of course, as Lucy’s husband had purchased it in 1913. Laura wondered where they had gone. She continued to scan the records, but she could find no entry for Catherine. Her eyes were getting tired, and anyway she had found out what she really wanted to know. One final scan and her eyes found the name James Clayton, Lucy’s husband. He had died in 1925. Poor Lucy, though maybe if he had been so badly shell-shocked, it had been something of a relief.

Laura returned the microfiche sheets to their box and took them back to the counter.

“Any luck?” asked Jo.

“Yes, thanks,” Laura replied. “I found what I was looking for.”

“Well, if you need anything else, you know where we are.”

Laura headed back towards the station, passing the entrance and heading for the ugly Fishergate Centre which housed Debenhams. A quick coffee and a slice of cake fortified her for some proper retail therapy. Although not a particularly keen clothes shopper, Laura was happy enough browsing the displays and picking out some practical additions to her currently sparse wardrobe. She also splashed out on a duvet and a pretty cover, since she was missing the comfort and ease of a quilt, being no longer accustomed to the sheets and blankets she was using now.

As she left the Centre she noticed a small jeweller’s shop on the opposite corner. She still had the locket fastened around her neck and it would be the ideal opportunity to have it examined. The bell on the door rang loudly as she entered.

“Be right with you,” called a voice from the back room of the shop. Presently, a man emerged.

“Could you take a look at this for me?” Laura asked unfastening the ribbon and handing him the little necklace. “I think it should open, but I’m afraid of breaking it.”

He turned the locket over in his hand. “I’m a bit busy just now, but I can certainly look at it tomorrow if you want to leave it with me.”

Laura hesitated. Somehow she didn’t want to part with the locket. But that was stupid. She could easily come back on the train tomorrow. She nodded and took his card.

Fortunately the train wasn’t crowded and Laura was able to secure sufficient space to accommodate her purchases. As the train pulled into Rufford station, she recognised the woman in the brown coat again. She had just left the platform and was heading over the level crossing. Laura was keen to speak to her. She hurried off the train, dragging her carrier bags with her. The woman turned into the churchyard. Laura tried to quicken her pace, but the wind which had replaced the rain, caught the unwieldy bags and slowed her down. By the time she reached the church the woman had vanished. Maybe she had gone into the church? Laura went to look, but the door was locked.


The Silver Locket: available as a paperback, ebook and on KindleUnlimited

Image credit: visitpreston.com