Bryant & May – Here We Go Again!
Having finished the editing and proofs on ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’, the decrepit duo’s second volume of missing cases, which fills in the gaps between the investigations tackled in the novels, I’ve now turned to next year’s adventure and I’m already running late.
How so? Because this is a unique year, with two new B&Ms (‘The Lonely Hour’ got here in March, ‘England’s Finest’ arrives at the end of October), which means that next year’s novel should have already been started a month ago. But I was busy writing a standalone psychological thriller and needed to get that out of my head before I plunged into the London research for the new volume.
If that makes it seem like I was working on three books at once, the impression is a little false because what actually happens is that the ideas gestate over a long time period. The missing cases built themselves up over three years and could be dealt with piecemeal, the thriller came to me last September and the idea for the new novel was inspired by the current government mess this year (although rest assured, there will be no mention of Brexit).
So, the new novel will be titled ‘Oranges & Lemons’, and will pick up from the end of ‘The Lonely Hour’ – although for readers who have not read that volume by the time it comes out it can still be read without knowledge of the previous book.
Rest assured that everyone who came out of the last book alive will be present and back to full strength, even though the Peculiar Crimes Unit itself has gone. I’ve a raft of colourful new characters, including an oily politician and an annoyingly hipster helper, plus plenty of surprises.
One element of the story will be this.
The 12th century church St Sepulchre-Without-Newgate (ie just outside) is the largest of the City Of London churches. It’s also the musicians’ church associated with Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, and features in the rhyme ‘Oranges And Lemons’, but there are macabre connections too…long associated with the Newgate prison, its Watch House had windows looking down into the graveyard, so that wardens could keep an eye out for the Resurrectionists who might be planning to body-snatch from it.
A tunnel in the church led into Newgate prison, and on the midnight before the executions, the sextant walked through the passageway and stood outside the cells of the condemned. There, he rang a bell twelve times and recited a warning prayer. The Newgate Bell can still be seen in the church.
In 1612 a tailor left an annual endowment to the church of 26s. 8d to ensure the bellman always rang the bell on the eve of execution days and again as the cart carrying the condemned left Newgate for Tyburn the next morning. The bell became a warning sound to those still living…
Now I just have to fill in the gaps. Don’t worry, I’m on it.
BTW, I’m loving this quote from FullyBooked on ‘The Lonely Hour’!