Titles by West Country Writers
Reaveley Books, 1 Church Road, Lympstone, Exmouth, Devon, UK, EX8 5JU,
South West of England has proved to be a rich source of inspiration in the past
for writers as diverse as R.D. Blackmore,Thomas Hardy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier.
is now known by many as "Lorna Doone" country, thanks to R.D.
Blackmore. Thomas Hardy and his novels were linked closely to
19th century Dorset and, in particular, to the County Town of Dorchester. Conan
Doyle worked as a young Doctor close to Plymouth and knew the stark
landscape and extreme weather of Dartmoor, which provided the setting for "The
Hound of The Baskervilles" and several other stories.
- A winter landscape. (Photo: G.R. Johnson)
Agatha Christie lived for many years in a magnificent house overlooking
the Dart Estuary and many of her novels are set in the region.. Daphne du
Maurier based many of her romantic suspense novels on the Cornish
coast where she made her home for 25 years.. The Jamaica Inn on Bodmin
Moor was immortalised in her novel of that name.
More recently, writers such
as Michael Jecks and Bernard Knight have researched medieval West
Country history (a time when Devon prospered through its woollen industry and
trading links) for the basis of their medieval mysteries. Robert Goddard
is one of our foremost mystery writers with an international following. A
Cambridge graduate, he worked in admin for the Education Authority in
Devon while writing his first novel in his spare time. He uses West Country
settings for some of his novels, most notably, Truro, in Beyond Recall.
Rebecca Tope uses the
contemporary rural environment with relish for her novels. "A Dirty Death"
contains one of the nastiest farmyard murders imaginable.
Morag Joss scored an
instant success with her first mystery novel "Funeral Music", featuring
international cellist, Sarah Selkirk, who, like her creator, lives in Bath in
Somerset. Her more recent novels, "Fearful Symmetry" and "Fruitful
Bodies" have also been very well received.
Although J.K. Rowling's
books do not strictly conform to the "Mystery" tag, Joanne Rowling does
have strong West Country links. She spent much of her childhood in a
village outside Bristol and studied Classics at Exeter University.
Several of the Exeter University dons have recently made claim to being the
models for professors at Hogwarts Academy and both Topsham and Ottery St Mary
in Devon have appeared in her novels!
East Devon author/poet, Ralph
Rochester is already known for his best-selling book of parody
entitled "Pig Poetry". His latest book of verse "The
Turkey and The Baby", a beautifully-illustrated, satirical
Christmas tale of the culinary mishap to end all others, is attracting
Hugh Montgomery whose
privately published epic novel, "The Voyage of The Arctic Tern"
was exceptionally well received by press and public, grew up in Plymouth.
His novel of "treachery, treason and treasure" is set in his home town. His
novel is newly published as a trade edition by Walker Books and is illustrated
by Nick Poullis..
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