Wednesday, 8 May 2013


Victorian crime drama The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is back on TV this Sunday which falls just right following my WEA group's study of the book by author Kate Summerscale, who wrote and researched material about Britain's first detective for her book recalling the Murder at Road Hill House.

It is Whicher's failure to secure the conviction of the main suspect in that case that caused him to be shunned and avoided by the newly set up Detective Branch which led to him becoming a private investigator. His reputation was later restored, and due credit given to his detective skills, when the nice middle class girl from an upstanding 19th century family, Constance Kent, later confessed that she had, indeed, murdered her little half brother as Whicher surmised.

That is probably the cloud he left the force under which he refers to in the new TV adaptation that looks set to be another cracker of a programme well worth watching. Paddy Considine again plays the role.

Whicher inspired so many authors in his day from Charles Dickens to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Henry James whose weird little novella The Turn of the Screw was inspired by the Road Hill case. It seems obvious now, having read both books, that the children in James' story were based on Constance and her brother William - the governess who claims their house is haunted is possibly based on the second Mrs Kent, their wicked stepmother.

My crime literature group has now broken up for summer and won't be back until mid September. That will give me plenty of time to read the two books we'll be studying next term - In the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and Dissolution by C J Sansom.

Meanwhile, my WEA creative writing course continues in Gainsborough and is so far going really well. Some of my students tell me that I inspire them and I know that they inspire me. Whether their genre is poetry, short stories, scripts or novels, they really are a talented and dedicated bunch who could also teach me a thing or two. I'm itching to get back to my crime novel which has been sadly abandoned as paid work has taken precedence but soon the summer holidays will be here, all my university journalism marking will be done, and I'll have nothing to stand between me and my protagonist Lou Weekes.

Thanks to a press release I sent out that was picked up by the Boston Standard and the Boston Target we now have enough interest to start another writing course in Fydell House next term.

Anyone who lives in the area is welcome to come along. You could also join the crime literature group, if you fancy getting your teeth into crime classics, where new students are always welcome.

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