Sunday 1 November 2009


I found my trip to the Lakes inspiring on more than one level. I’ve spent too long fiddling with the synopsis for the fifth Lake District Mystery, and wandering around the Lakes put me in the right mood to finish the job. The drive from Grasmere to Keswick is very attractive, and I was only sorry that time didn’t permit a short detour to Castlerigg, to see the old stone circle again.

Keswick is home to just 5,000 people, but it has a thriving atmosphere, and seems to have weathered the recession much better than most places. There’s a busy market on Thursdays and Saturdays, with stalls spilling down the main street from the Moot Hall, which is now a tourist information office. There’s a good second hand bookshop (hooray!) and an equally good independent book store, Bookends, as well as loads of places to eat and drink. The Theatre by the Lake is hugely popular, and I’d love to see a production there one day.

I was entertained by the news placard, which suggests that there isn’t too much everyday drama in real-life Keswick at the moment - impossible to resist the temptation to photograph it. Simply by walking around the town, and along the edge of the lake to Friar’s Crag (the first place John Ruskin remembered visiting as a child), I found I was getting ideas for my story. The atmosphere of Keswick is so charming that it seems mean to disturb it with a murder investigation

But a crime writer’s gotta do what a crime writer’s gotta do!


Anonymous said...

But you failed to see how awful the threat to the toilets is!! We need toilets.

Maxine Clarke said...

Seconded - I remember reading an article once on the culling of the public loo - can be very "inconvenient".

Seriously, I concur that Keswick is a lovely town, I particularly like the way it is right on the beautiful lake Derwentwater, 5 mins or less from open, wild scenery. I suppose that at this time of year it is far less busy from the "coach trip tourists" point of view - ie the visitors are probably people who truly love the lakes and hiking. In the spring and summer, one can feel as if one is almost in London, the crowds are so busy.

I remember when they built that "Rogue Herries Shopping Centre", my mother in particular was distraught that they had ruined the place. And it never seemed particularly successful, commercially. I wonder if someone regrets building that eyesore, and if they'll even take it down (or at least, rename it - Rogue H must be spinning in his fictional grave).

Finally - very glad to read that the lake district novels are inching nearer our (readers') way!

Dorte H said...

I am sure you can spice up their lives a bit ;D

(and ours as well)

Martin Edwards said...

It's a great place, and one hopes the threat can be lifted! I rather like the idea of the Rogue Herries Shopping Centre - in the sense that you couldn't make it up!

seana graham said...

I was once and very long ago in Keswick in what to date has been my only trip around England--though I've been to London several times. My traveling companion and I stayed at the Keswick youth hostel, and we had a strange and delightful experience there. We were there in the spring, but while we slept, overnight it snowed. The next day was clear and bright, but the ground was covered in slow, and if memory serves me, we took a boat ride on the Derwentwater and were quite enchanted with the whole experience of it.

Martin, I have got to get going on those Lake District mysteries of yours!