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Death at St Judes with Mary Grand

  • Submitted: 16th January 2024

Death at St Judes

A cosy crime novel set on the Isle of Wight. When the author comes to you and brings scones, jam and cream, homemade lemonade and asks you if you want to join her on picnic, it sounds cosy but..
Luckily for crime readers, she has murder in mind…

Mary Grand in Brighstone (c) Mary Grand

Mary Grand in Brighstone (c) Mary Grand

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

I have lived on the Isle of Wight for 30 years, a place of extraordinary beauty, dark skies, stunning beaches and gentle downland.  An island is the perfect setting for a murder mystery, a place of escape, but one that can be impossible to leave. The cosiness can easily morph into claustrophobia. Close-knit friendly villages where reputations matter are breeding grounds for secrets and gossip.

Brighstone church (c) Mary Grand

Brighstone church (c) Mary Grand

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

I base all my villages on real places here, but I use fictional place names to avoid linking characters, and to allow flexibility within the geography. Brighstone, where Susan Flynn relocates to, is a thriving village. It has a church, shops, doctor’s surgery, school, pretty thatched cottages and clusters of newly built houses. Although Susan has always lived on the island, after the break-up of her long marriage, she is seeking a fresh start. ‘Bishopstone’ is perfect for that and a great setting for future murder mysteries!

Brighstone church tower (c) Mary Grand

Brighstone church tower (c) Mary Grand

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

As the title suggests, the church plays an important part in the story, it being the scene of the murder. St Jude’s is based on Brighstone’s St Mary’s. Many of the features of that building are found: the interior, the graveyard and the bell tower. The only change is the structure of the top of the tower. I needed a flat base, so there is no spire in the book. The long-eared bats Susan is taken to see by Lawrence, are rare and but are found locally. The Isle of Wight Bat Society helpfully gave me background information.

Brighstone and downs (c ) Mary Grand

Brighstone and downs (c ) Mary Grand

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

A feature of the village is its oak tree, planted to commemorate the coronation of King George V in 1911. The narrative speculates about this tree being the eyes and ears of the village over the years, maybe even passing on secrets!

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

Susan has two cocker spaniels who accompany her around the village. I use the real names of the beaches, woods and downland she visits. The beaches are not far away, and I have visited them many times with my children and my dog. Brook has the oldest cliffs on the island.

Compton Bay (c) Mary Grand

Compton Bay (c) Mary Grand

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

Compton is a vast sandy beach, a favourite with surfers, and we still go down there body boarding in the summer or for brisk Christmas walks. The beaches are famous for fossilised dinosaur footprints. They are a symbol to me of a place that holds onto its past, the island that never forgets.

 Brook beach (c) Mary Grand

Brook beach (c) Mary Grand

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

Susan also enjoys walks on nearby Mottistone and Brighstone Downs. Like myself Susan sees the downland as a place of retreat. She also has a very exciting night visit with one of the suspects! I loved researching the wildlife at night and learning about bats, (There are fourteen of the sixteen British species of bat here) owls, and other nocturnal wildlife here.

Death in St Judes Mary Grand

Map of locations in Death at St Judes

I would recommend any reader of the books to visit the Isle of Wight. My particular love is the west wight, slightly wilder and less well known than other parts. This is where you will find the places mentioned in the stories and discover new ones for yourself.

 

Thank you so much Mary! A gorgeous visit to the Isle of Wight

 

BookTrail Boarding Pass:  Death at St Judes

Twitter:  @authormaryg

Website: https://marygrand.net/

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