Last Monday evening, I hosted my Victorian murder mystery at Akryod Library, Halifax. It was an enjoyable occasion, and I found the venue especially fascinating. The library shares premises with Bankfield Museum, and the building is in a park – unfortunately, it was too dark for me to look around much outside.
But there were some treasures inside, including information about the long defunct Halifax Literary and Philosophical Society – a name that greatly appealed to me. The exhibits included the Halifax Gibbet, a truly fearsome means of execution. I was told it was a precursor to the guillotine. I’m not sure about the historic details, but I did wonder if gibbets had featured much in detective fiction – I imagine so, but can’t call any example to mind.
Bankfield Mansion was once home to a leading Yorkshire worsted and wooleen manufacturer – Edward Akroyd. He developed it into a palatial Italianate-style home. The original Library is one of the most impressive of the rooms. It still retains original oak bookcases, and a great marble fireplace. At one time Akroyd had a staff of 25 servants working at the house. But business problems forced him to sell Bankfield, and the Halifax Corporation took it over, creating the public museum and library. I’d never have gone to Bankfield had I not been invited to host the mystery evening. Yet another example of the unexpected pleasures that can come a writer’s way.
One more bit of news, by the way. Take My Breath Away will make its appearance in a US edition, published by Five Star, next June. I’m really pleased, as it is a book I remain proud of.