Last Sunday was the hottest day of the year so far, and I was due to travel from Middlesbrough to Boroughbridge for the CWA lunch. It seemed a shame to waste such glorious weather. So I decided to take a quick look at a seaside resort I’ve never visited before. This was Saltburn by the Sea, some miles north of Whitby (a resort I know quite well) and lacking Whitby’s Dracula connection, but nevertheless, as I found, a place of real charm.
Saltburn has a pleasant-looking beach, a historic furnicular cliff railway, a pier, and a lovely glen. I took plenty of photos, but although Blogger has today permitted me to upload one, that seems to be the limit! I enjoyed wandering around for an hour or so before it was time to leave. There’s something about seaside resorts that I find quite entrancing. In summer, that is. I’ve visited them often in winter, and of course they can sometimes have a melancholic atmosphere.
Seaside settings do, I think, work very well in crime fiction. Examples of books with a seaside backdrop that I’ve enjoyed are the very different Sunspot by Desmond Lowden, and Light Reading by Aliya Whiteley. Both are entertaining and deserve to be better known. And there are many others that one might name. I’d be interested to know of any particular favourites of readers of this blog.
I’ve never had a seaside setting in my novels (apart from one scene in Take My Breath Away, with a fictional place based on North Yorkshire’s forgotten village, Ravenscar) but the seaside has cropped up in one or two of my short stories. I was especially happy with one called ‘Diminished Responsibility’, which did not attract a great deal of attention at the time – but it’s a story that will, I hope, find a fresh life in some future anthology.