With Morse in Oxford, Rebus in Edinburgh and Roy Grace in Brighton, author David Stuart Davies thought it only fair for Huddersfield to have its own Paul Snow. Huddersfield in the eighties, combined with the homophobic culture of the time makes for a superb setting for a thrilling and richly layered crime thriller.
Blood Rites is a Northern thriller set in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in the 1980s featuring Detective Inspector Paul Snow. DI Paul Snow has a personal secret He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police of the time.
As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, Snow is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately.
Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?
Huddersfield – Scene of the *Blood Rites* Crimes
A walk through Huddersfield with author David Stuart Davies
Author David Stuart Davies shows you around Huddersfield
“The location for my latest crime thriller, Blood Rites is the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield. It is a place I know well having been born here and lived here all my life. DI Paul Snow is based at Huddersfield Police Station and is part of the West Yorkshire force, and the story is set in the rather grim 1980s before the town regenerated and became the modern thriving place it is today.
I thought if Oxford could have its Morse, Edinburgh its Rebus and Brighton its Roy Grace, why not give Huddersfield its Paul Snow? The town is a wonderful mix of elegant buildings, dark Victorian alleys, spacious parks, large impressive houses and labyrinthine estates of post-war hutches. It is also surrounded by the most wonderful countryside. In short, Huddersfield provides a palette of such variety that it is ideal as the setting for dramatic storytelling. The other bonus of using a real location for a novel is that it gives the narrative a greater reality.
I am not suggesting that I’m going to organise Paul Snow walking tours around the town (not yet anyway), but whenever possible I used real locations in the plot, including, for example, The County public house which still exists more or less in the same shape it was in 1985. Of course, setting your story back over thirty years you have to be sure about prices of such things as drinks and meals and which establishments were operating then.
Many places have gone now, of course. There is no Woolworths anymore. WH Smiths have moved to another part of town. Various stores like C&A and Fine Fare have vanished altogether. The George Hotel, an impressive Victorian building set in the main square by the station, which features in several scenes in the novel is still there but closed down in 2013 and its future is currently uncertain. The other hotel mentioned, The Huddersfield Hotel, situated down from the wonderful Parish Church, still remains, looking much the same as it did from the outside.
In the 1980s we did not have a university or the magnificent campus that now stands in the centre of the town – but there were a few centrally located cinemas, including the magnificent ABC building, but they are all gone. In many ways creating Huddersfield’s recent past was a real nostalgic treat for me. I visited all the places that I referred to in the text, sometimes closing one eye and trying to recall how it was in the period of the novel. The memory is a wonderful thing and if pressured will regurgitate images from a past you long thought was buried.
All areas of the country, all towns and cities have qualities that make them suitable for the setting of crime novels – and certainly, I believe that Huddersfield in the eighties, combined with the homophobic culture of the time make a superb combination for a thrilling, surprising and richly layered crime thriller. I hope when you read it you will agree.”
About the Author
David Stuart Davies is an author, playwright and editor. His fiction includes six novels featuring his wartime detective Johnny Hawke, Victorian puzzle solver artist Luther Darke, and seven Sherlock Holmes novels – the latest being Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper Legacy (2016). His non-fiction work includes Starring Sherlock Holmes, detailing the film career of the Baker Street sleuth. David has also penned a Northern Noir trilogy of gritty crime novels set in Yorkshire in the 1980s: Brothers in Blood, Innocent Blood and Blood Rites.
David is regarded as an authority on Sherlock Holmes and is the author of two Holmes plays, Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act and Sherlock Holmes: The Death and Life, which are available on audio CD. He has written the Afterwords for all the Collector’s Library Holmes volumes, as well as those for many of their other titles.
He is a committee member of the Crime Writers’ Association and edits their monthly publication Red Herrings. His collection of ghost and horror stories appeared in 2015, championed by Mark Gatiss who said they were ‘pleasingly nasty.’
David is General Editor of Wordsworth’s Mystery & Supernatural series and a past Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. He has appeared at many literary festivals and the Edinburgh Fringe performing his one-man presentation The Game’s Afoot – an evening with Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle. He was recently made a member of The Detection Club.
|Publisher||Urbane Publications (9 Nov. 2017)|