Channel Noir – splash it all over.

Channel Noir map

Writer’s blog: Stardate: 21.02.2014

I had a great idea last week. I think it’s great. Peter James, Graham Hurley and Pauline Rowson (three of the biggest names currently writing crime fiction set on the south coast of England) all think it’s a good idea. I know because I wrote to them and asked them. Go me.

I’ve set up an Internet site to celebrate, promote and inform about crime writing set on the south coast of England. The web address is southcoastcrimewriters.co.uk Here is the information I’ve posted on the ‘About’ page. It’ll save you having to go there. I’d still like followers of this blog to take a look and feedback to me any suggestions regarding the format, appearance, set up of the site. What strikes you? What’s missing? Seriously, help me build it with your suggestions. If you read my books then chances are you’re a reader of crime fiction and quite possibly you’ve read other crime fiction books set along the south coast within view of the English Channel.

South Coast Crime Writers has been set up to celebrate, promote and inform about crime writing, past and present, directly involving the south coast of England. There’s plenty of it.

America has American Noir, Scandinavia has Nordic Noir and Scotland has Tartan Noir. There’s Mediterranean Noir, Film Noir, Neo-Noir and even the wine industry has got in on things with Pinot Noir.  It’s time someone spoke up for the south coast. Our crime writing is as good as anywhere.

If the world wants Noir, the south coast crime writers can deliver it by the body bag. Channel Noir (not to be confused with the French fragrance, which only has one ‘n’ and doesn’t smell half as good as an angry sea does to me) is wading out of the shallows.

Of course, not all crime writing featuring the south coast counties falls into the Noir genre, but there’s plenty that does and even more that dips its toes in those dark waters.

To be included here, authors will need to have written crime novels set on the south coast of England and within view of the English Channel. The accepted geographical boundaries of the English Channel are Lands End in Cornwall to the west and Leathercoat Point at the north end of St Margaret’s Bay in Kent to the east.

Writers dead or alive, traditionally published and self-published will be included.

This site will take time and research to be the comprehensive, informative reference point that it is intended to aspire to. If you would like to suggest an author for inclusion, please provide his/her full name and any other information you feel might be useful.

Channel Noir – splash it all over!

Each of the big guns I’ve mentioned above replied to my requests for information about them and their writing for inclusion on the site and that’s about the best start and endorsement I could have asked for.

I do not have terrific knowledge of crime writing set on the south coast of England, past and present. I would be eternally grateful to anyone who can highlight authors for inclusion – traditionally published and self-published. I haven’t started properly researching yet. I intend to. I know that there are going to be many more. Here are the names I’ve got so far in alphabetical order:

Glenn Chandler

Paul Grzegorzek

Graham Hurley

Peter James

Tin Larrick

Pauline Rowson

Russell Thorndike (Dr Syn – they’re crime books, right?)

Me (of course)

I want to put the Bergerac books in there, too. (Did you know they were written by Andrew Taylor? I didn’t ‘til I looked.) What do you think? They’re not set on the south coast of England, I know, but…

Channel Noir – splash it all over!

31 thoughts on “Channel Noir – splash it all over.

  1. Oliver

    What about Robert Goddard – http://www.robertgoddardbooks.co.uk
    ‘Days Without Number’ has Cornish connections and ‘Play to the End’ has connection to Brighton.

    Perhaps not a crime book (although World War 2 was quite a big crime), ‘Dover Beach’ by Leslie Thomas is set in… wait for it… DOVER! As with all of his books, a very enjoyable read.

    Regards

    Jim
    PS. currently 76% of the way through ‘Making a Killing’ – the first of your books that I’ve paid for. Money we’ll spent. Thanks.

    • Hi Jim
      Terrific, thanks. Just what I want – readers’ suggestions. Already put both the Goddard books on the site after checking them out on the link you kindly provided. If you remember or learn of any others, please let me know.
      And great to know that you’re enjoying MAK. Thanks for that.
      Best wishes.

  2. Excellent idea! There is a rich seam of crime fiction set in Brighton – some of which is mentioned here: http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__9374_path__0p116p177p.aspx. Presumably you are thinking about authors writing today, rather than historical eg Patrick Hamilton. This article from the Argus also mentions a few which I hadn’t heard of http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9010304.Writers_transform_Brighton_and_Hove_into_crime_capital/ including Peter Guttridge and Charles Bancroft. May be worth following up.
    Sarah

    • Sarah,
      Brilliant, thanks. That’s a great help. I’ll be checking out those links very soon. I’m looking forward to them.
      I will be including dead writers – anything that fits in the crime genre – so those other names you’ve provided (all of whom are new to me) will be considered.
      Many thanks and best wishes.

  3. Check me out – a rose between two thorns! Guttridge is a good shout I forgot to mention him. Lily Childs too for Eastbourne way. (Did you know if you input ‘blogspot’ using predictive the first suggestion is ‘croissant?’) great post and general idea btw :-{D>

    • Haha I’ve never heard of Guttridge. I did look LC up on Amazon and got the impression she doesn’t write crime novels. Like Mike Yarwood was often moved to say, did I get that impression wrong?
      Best.

  4. Hi Oliver,
    What a great idea, looking forward to reading some of these authors.
    Just another idea for the site, what about people from the South East writing a crime novel in collaboration with each other? Someone starts the story off on line (that’s a cue for you there) and other people add a chapter to follow it on. Each chapter could go into a review section to be read by others for say a month and voted on, the winner gets added to the story. The story goes on that way until we have a crime novel then it could be put up on Amazon ?
    Don’t know if this will work but as they say there is a novel in all of us but just perhaps not a complete one !!!

    • Hi Clive,
      What a good idea for the future. Thank you. I think that would be a lot of fun for a lot of people. What with Jim’s suggestions, other readers, and yours and all the other work I have to do on that site I’m starting to lament my lack of free time. I really would like to get stuck into it now, but it will inevitably be a slow old process. Your idea is stored for when the site is properly established.
      Best wishes.

  5. Oliver
    Apologies for the superficial research on these ones but I’m fitting it in between some house decorating.

    Touchstone – Laurie R. King – a remote cottage in Cornwall;
    http://www.laurierking.com/touchstone-2007.html

    The Lighthouse – P.D. James – a secluded island off the Cornish coast;
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/oct/29/crime.pdjames

    The Murder Bird – Joanna Hines – (another) remote cottage in Cornwall;
    http://joannahines.co.uk/?page_id=39

    The Wycliffe crime series – W.J. Burley – generally set in Cornwall;

    The Rose Trevelyan crime series – Janie Bolitho – again, generally set in Cornwall;

    Wait for What Will Come – Barbara Michaels – a massive mansion looming high up on the jagged cliffs of Cornwall.
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wait-for-what-will-come-barbara-michaels/1103371182?ean=9780061861802

    And… Colin Dexter displays a detailed knowledge of Lyme Regis in ‘The Way Through the Woods’ when he has Inspector Morse take a holiday in the Bay Hotel.

    Regards

    Jim
    PS. I think I might stop sending these to you now as it suspect I’m becoming annoying. 🙂

    • Jim
      I’m actually thrilled by your suggestions and interest. Really. Your response is exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you. I will be looking at the titles you have suggested to see if they fit the criteria for inclusion. (First glance is that they all do.) I’m very interested to check out the book set in Dover.
      Lots of authors new to me. Now I just need to find the time to start listing them. If you don’t see them in the next few days, please don’t mind too much. Life is incredibly busy at present. But I am serious about the site and using all suggestions provided. If you think of any more, please, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
      Very best wishes.

  6. Dear Mr Tidy

    This is truly, an awesome idea. I fear, however, you may have a serious task on your hands, but I look forward to perusing the finished the result, particularly as this will no doubt introduce me to new authors and ultimately new stories. It will be epic!

    I would love to be included in your website as I am an independent crime writer, also striving to ‘be an author of note’. I write cosy crime not noir, so I completely understand if you’re only including noir. My books are set in the home counties in the fictional village of Tuesbury (a bit like Tring) and I write from my home in Hampshire. They follow the genre rules, and I am currently working on the third in the series.

    Good luck with your quest, I will follow with interest.

    Regards

    D S Nelson

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your contact. I’m glad you like the idea of the new site. Would you like it as a free gift? Only kidding, of course, but as you’ve quickly understood, I have landed myself with quite a task. I could end up ruing the day I had that ‘bright idea’. It’ll take a lot of time and effort but I’m quite looking forward to it. I’ve set myself the target of my eightieth birthday to have it up to date.

      The site won’t just be representing and celebrating noir, but all types of crime fiction. The two criteria that I’ve settled upon are that a) it’s crime writing and b) it’s set within view of the English Channel. (I’ve got a thing about the English Channel.) Can one see the Channel from Tuesbury?

      Whether it does or not, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. It’s nice to know about others in the same boat as me – self-pubbing crime fiction for the love of it.

      Best of luck with the Blake Hetherington mysteries. I see you have some good reviews on Amazon.

      Best wishes.

      Oliver

      • Nice attempt to pass the buck there 😉 but no, no I wouldn’t dream of it, it’s your idea and you must have full credit for it!

        I’m not sure if you can see the channel from Tuesbury, I shall have to ask Blake. Perhaps if it’s a very clear day and you’re fixing the weather vane on the church.

        I look forward to watching the project progress. Nice to meet you too, good luck with the writing.

        Have a great week.

        D S Nelson

  7. ‘A Damsel in Distress’ by P.G. Wodehouse – Hampshire

    ‘Zander’ by Oliver Gray – Winchester (although it’s in Hampshire I suspect it’s a bit far from The South Coast for your purposes
    http://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/news_villages/10580506.Twyford_man_launches_novel_set_in_Winchester/

    ‘Never Forget’ by Lisa Cutts – although the author lives in Kent I have not confirmed that the book is set there.
    http://www.lisacutts.co.uk

    Joe Faraday series by Graham Hurley – Portsmouth
    http://www.grahamhurley.co.uk/books/search/joe-faraday
    http://www.hampshire-life.co.uk/people/celebrity-interviews/a_life_of_crime_writing_author_graham_hurley_1_1642264

    • Thanks, Jim. Great stuff. I’m thinking about breaking a leg so I can lie in bed for six weeks and work on the site. Deeply immersed in R&M 4 edit at present and it’s taking all my time, but when it’s gone…
      Keep ’em coming!
      Best wishes.

      • Jim
        Just wanted to let you know that I’ve had a good go at that other website this weekend and included books you suggested that fit the criteria or the site. I did look at all those you suggested. Unfortunately a few of them didn’t make it. Wycliffe is on the wrong Cornish coast, Lisa Cutts doesn’t use a real setting for examples. I never heard of Christian James. I put him in as I reckon you could probably see the English Channel from the spire of Chichester cathedral. I couldn’t find anything on the guy on the web. I wonder if it’s a pseudonym.
        Best wishes and thanks again.

    • Jim,
      My pleasure. I’m pretty keen to find out more about Christian James. He seems to be a mystery man. See what that new website’s done? It’s even got me interested in authors previously unknown to me.
      Best wishes.

    • 🙂 Close but…. I’ve just had another look for something on him. Nothing. I’m really quite intrigued. I read a bit of the samples of the two books on Amazon and they start well. Have you read them/either of them? What did you think?

    • I might try one of his soon.
      She certainly does. I bet she’s not selling many at that price. I sometimes wonder if there are more fictional detectives than real ones. 😦

  8. Oliver

    Incidentally, I swapped emails with Lisa Cutts who’s police procedural books are set in Kent and she tells me that, “I haven’t been able to set my books in Kent where I currently work as I have an understanding with my employer that I won’t locate my fictional murders with any I’ve actually investigated. Therefore, you wouldn’t be able to identify a location from them.”

    Jim

    • That’s interesting. I had a look at her website yesterday and saw she’s a detective. Makes sense, I suppose, that Kent police might get sniffy about that sort of thing. I do think that using a recognisable, real setting is more than half the fun though and half the work. It’s bad enough having to make up the story without having to make up where it’s located, too.
      Best wishes.

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