Setting my DC Dominic Strider crime novels at various points in the calendar means that, inevitably, at least one of them will be set in the long, hot summer months.
That happens to be the case with my first – and most personal – novel, No More Lonely Nights. NMLN takes place over one hectic August weekend in the height of a scorching hot summer.
In retrospect, I must have been going for a sultry, film noir type feel to the storyline. Maybe A Touch of Evil or Body Heat – well, the story features both evil characters and, er, a lot of body heat generated by Strider and his love interest, the visiting American journalist Kate Laughton!
Having lived in Chester for 15 years means I’ve experienced many lovely summers – and some really grim ones too! I got married on July 1st 2000 – and it tipped it down with rain all day!!
When the sun comes out, so do the tourists and residents alike, and it’s these that Strider must reluctantly bump along with in NMLN as he tackles the killer of a local prostitute, armed robbers, police corruption and threatening letters sent to the local MP.
Sun-speckled locations used in the novel include The Rows, the medieval two-tier shopping system; the Kaleyard Gate area and Cathedral grounds themselves; The Groves alongside the river; Eastgate Clock and The City Walls; the Roman Amphitheatre; and a fictional pub by the canal (scene of a huge fight and, later, where Strider calls in reinforcements); alongside various homes and businesses pertinent to the plot.
Chester is stunning to visit in the summer months and, thankfully, is home of dozens and dozens of tea shops, cafes and restaurants – all of which are generously air-conditioned!
So if you want to walk the hallowed streets where DC Strider still treads to this day, get yourself down to Chester this summer. You won’t regret it!