Wigan author’s new case for crime readers
A successful Wigan crime author is back and taking readers on another twisting, turning journey into the links between art and murder.
Threadbare is the ninth book Orrell writer Malcolm Hollingdrake has penned in his series of novels based in Harrogate and featuring DCI Cyril Bennett.
This time, however, DCI Bennett is largely off the case, having proposed to his lover at the end of the previous instalment of the series, leaving DS David Owen and DS April Richmond at the helm of the team as a spate of unusual murders begin to occur.
The police have to think fast as a photograph of a group of friends at Ripon racecourse, the Biblical story of Lilith and paintings all seem to have something to do with the deadly goings-on.
Malcolm, 67, said: “This one has been nice because I’ve developed the characters of the team far more than I normally would. DS April Richmond and Owen really come into their own in this one.
“The first killings are an old gentleman and his carer, and then there’s a potential suicide which turns out to be a murder.
“It’s all linked to a photograph of a horse race at Ripon and the benches throughout Harrogate and Knaresborough.
“I’ve been fascinated by them for quite some time. They have serpents for legs and they’re quite unusual because they have dragons’ tails.
“One of my favourite paintings, which is actually in the Atkinson Gallery in Southport, is also in it and there’s a Biblical aspect which plays its part.”
Malcolm’s setting of the Bennett books in and around the Yorkshire spa town have drawn comparisons with some of the biggest names in crime fiction, such as Ian Rankin whose Rebus novels all take place in Edinburgh.
He says he has also settled on a particular style for his crime fiction.
He said: “I don’t write as dark as some other crime writers and I’m very conscious about language.
“You have to have the odd swear word to give it reality but I try to keep it down as much as possible. I get fed up of writing it and I think people get fed up of reading it too.
“I also prefer to leave things to the readers’ imagination rather than having something graphic on the page.”
Malcolm has also revealed that after years of writing about the other side of the Pennines he is working on the first book in a new series which will feature Wigan.
The novel is currently titled A Decent April, a play on the name of central character DCI April Decent.
The new series will plunge readers into criminal activities around Merseyside, with the police team based in Liverpool but heading out across the North West, including into the borough, to crack their cases.
Malcolm said: “I went to some fascinating places in Liverpool I’d never been before to write this book.
“Wigan certainly appears and will do so more as we progress.
“The North West has some great places for descriptive writing.”
As well as his writing Malcolm organises the annual Wigan Noir night, where a panel of crime authors visit the town to read extracts from their works and meet their fans.
However, with the coronavirus currently curtailing most public activities Malcolm is crossing his fingers that this year’s event, which will be the fourth edition, will be able to go ahead.
Threadbare is out now. For more information about the author visit www.malcolmhollingdrakeauthor.co.uk.
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