Back in May 2014, I wrote about The Great Orme Terror a truly eccentric Golden Age thriller, and on Friday I took another look at the Great Orme itself, the scene of such sinister goings-on in Garnett Radcliffe's novel. The occasion was a quick trip across the border to North Wales, to take advantage of the last bids of summery weather.
I've mentioned previously that I'm surprised by the paucity of detective novels set in Wales, and in particular North Wales. I can't call to mind a single story that is set on the appealing island of Anglesey, for instance, nor of any books set in Conwy - where on Friday I wandered for a while on the ancient walls, as well as around the narrow streets and along the river shore. It's a lovely town.
So too is Llandudno, a "model resort" with a terrific pier (it got rather windy on Friday!) where the seagulls regularly swoop down to nick people's ice creams. Llandudno's benefited from a lot of investment in recent years, and I was impressed to see plenty of "no vacancies" signs in hotels, even though the school term has started. Alice Liddell, of Alice in Wonderland, once stayed in the St Tudno's Hotel on the front (where my wife and I also stayed many years ago) and quite a bit is now made of the Alice connection.
Final stop of the day was Colwyn Bay. This was very much a nostalgia trip for me, as I spent numerous childhood holidays there. Sad to say, the Bay Bookshop on Sea View Road has gone after 40 years, a victim of internet competition; it was one of my favourite second hand bookshops. Even the hotel where my family used to stay has been bulldozed. But the visit did bring back many memories, and I'm tempted to set a short story there.