Thursday 26 March 2015

Checkout staff say no to Chief Constable: Why York is fruitful ground for fictional adventure

This is the real York: A gruesome history, the longest medieval town walls in England, a pub for every day of the year. What’s not to like? Here is the merest sprinkling of York facts...

  • Margaret Clitherow’s history and gruesome death in 1586 was served up to us in school. A martyr for Catholicism her severed hand is exhibited at the Bar Convent in York. She was canonised in 1970 and has a shrine in York’s famous Shambles.
  • St Peter’s School in York does not take part in the traditional burning of effigies on Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th, because Guy Fawkes, born in the city, was educated at the school.
  • York has many pubs, it is said that you could visit one a day and not return to the same place for a year. 
  • North Yorkshire police officers have hit the headlines for unusual reasons – Chief Constable Della Cannings tried to buy wine in her local supermarket in 2004 whilst still in uniform. The checkout staff refused to serve her until she removed her hat and epaulettes. It was at the time an offence to sell alcohol to a police officer on duty.

This is where the real York morphs into fictional York: The North Yorkshire Police were established in the mid 1970s. The headquarters are at Newby Wiske near Northallerton and get a passing mention in the books. Maybe some future plotline will invade headquarters but the action in Buried Deep centres around fictional officers stationed in York.

York is irresistible as a setting for a novel ... any novel. And with its rich history it’s also a fertile ground for contemporary fictional crime which is how Buried Deep found its focus. Read a review here.

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