Tag Archives: sophie hannah

The City

According to the BBC, York has been voted the best place to live in the UK. Having been here for a few years since the age of 18 (Yes ok so technically I’ve been here a couple of decades rather than a few years but let’s not split hairs!) I would agree on the whole, although maybe not for the same reasons.

According to the highly trustworthy BBC (unless it’s the weather forecast which is always wrong) York is the perfect mix of heritage and hi-tech. Heritage yes but hi-tech? I am clearly missing something! I know that we have the the National Railway Museum but I’m not sure World’s fastest steam engine could be classed as hi-tech nowadays? The mystery plays are a fantastic thing to watch and this year they will be featuring a movable stage which of course is quite hi-tech I suppose (or at least it was when it was first done back in medieval times!)

What wasn’t mentioned in the report of course was one of my favourite things about York – no not the pubs and bars before you think it – but the libraries. We have a fantastic library service which puts on some great events. For example last week I went on a course to learn how to make notebooks. It was a fun day although I suspect Paperchase may be a bit worried about a fall in their profits now I can make my own. Stationary being my second favourite purchase after books.

York library also has a high crime rate. Not people walking off with a Winsey Willis biography under their arm, or pilfering the drawing pins from the notice board, but crime fiction events. Last year we had some big hitters talking including Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah. There was also Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre. This was a hilarious evening, made all the better personally by the looks on the faces of some of the attendees. Clearly two women behind me thought the event was going to be a talk by the WI about jam making rather than one involving frozen chickens in public toilets and dead bodies.

Coming up next month is another exciting sounding event called CSI’s in York – from the writing duo Margaret Murphy and Helen Pepper better known as Ashley Dyer. They are spending the afternoon showing us how to lift fingerprints and identify shoe evidence (you never know when that might come in handy)

Whilst I may not agree with some of the reasoning behind York being voted the best place to live, I certainly agree with the sentiment. Where else could you learn how to investigate a murder, see the only memorial in the country to women who lost their lives during the First World War and drink in a Viking bar all in the same afternoon? Not necessarily hi-tech but pretty amazing all the same.

Tickets for CSI’s in York are still available https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/event/csis-in-york-the-truth-about-forensic-investigating/https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/event/csis-in-york-the-truth-about-forensic-investigating/

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Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah – a review

I have read quite a few of Sophie Hannah’s books although not in order and have always enjoyed them. This one was no exception. Naomi is having an affair with Robert who then goes missing. Meanwhile Detective Claire is having a relationship with local chalet owner Graham until she is called in to investigate the disappearance. Their lives and Naomi’s past soon become interlinked and what starts off as a missing person with an odd wife, becomes something more sinister altogether.

This was a quick read book that I enjoyed. The pace of the story is good, and there is enough intrigue to keep you guessing. It’s most definitely a crime book, although it is not based around a murder. The crime is pretty horrific, but I didn’t think it was overly graphic in its inclusion.

I did find the characters all a bit confusing but I suspect that’s mainly because I have read the books out of order and was not sure of the central characters relationship at this stage. Equally some of the relationships seemed a bit unrealistic, for example Naomi is portrayed as an independent business woman, but apparently she falls for a rather dull sounding lorry driver who can only see her once a week in what sounds like a rather sleazy cheap hotel. Sorry but surely thanks to the genius that is laterooms.com all affairs are now conducted in a 4 star hotel minimum!

I find that Sophie Hannah’s books are always a fascinating read with a real mix of characters. She has the ability to make you start out believing x is good and y is bad, but by the end of it any initial preconceptions have been turned inside out and upside down. There is never a simple black and white story. I also like the way the story is written from differing viewpoints, each one identified by the different way the date is written at the start of the chapter.

I think this novel is definitely worth a read, although it may be an idea to start at the beginning of the series and keep them in order.

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