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Travel to London and visit Orlando Murrin’s Knife Skills in Belgravia

  • Submitted: 13th December 2023

Orlando Murrin’s Knife Skills for Beginners

A sneaky peek here. This novel is not out until February next year BUT it’s full of food and it will make your mouth water for Christmas and make you hungry for this novel when it does come out so…

…tuck in!

Locations in Knife Skills for Beginners

Knife Skills for Beginners Orlando Murrin

BookTrail locations in Knife Skills

‘A kitchen is a death trap.’ So declares the hero of my début novel, Knife Skills For Beginners, as he steps in at the last minute to teach a cookery course at the swanky Chester Square Cookery School in Belgravia. Needless to say, things soon go cataclysmically wrong, but why Belgravia? It’s not as if I’ve ever lived there.

orlando murrin

BookTrail locations in Knife Skills

Well… one of the delights of writing fiction is that you can dream, and if I could choose anywhere to live, this would be it. Along with Regent’s Park, it’s the grandest architecture in London – magnificent squares of gleaming white stucco interlaced by verdant gardens and broad thoroughfares. It’s slap in the middle of town, and you can always get a taxi.

Chester Square:

BookTrail locations in Knife Skills

Its unity of style is down to the vision of two men: Thomas Cubitt, its principal designer, and Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. If they could come back to see their project 175-odd years after completion, I think they’d be amazed how little has changed. (Unlike the rest of the capital.)

Most of the credit for this comes down to the fact the estate is still largely owned by the Grosvenors, who keep an eagle eye on development and ensure leaseholders keep properties up to standard, with fresh paintwork and glossy front doors.

Just look at the architecture!

BookTrail locations in Knife Skills

Of course, it’s not all vast mansions with porticos and railings: behind the scenes you’ll find mews – where the wealthy residents’ horses would originally have been stabled. In addition, there’s bustling shopping streets and (hidden away) some charming little cul-de-sacs. In one of these – Jubilee Cottage, nicknamed ‘the smallest house in Belgravia’ and entirely imaginary – lives Paul Delamare, our hero. He’s not rich or posh (unlike most of his neighbours). In fact, his financial/legal situation is highly precarious, with an evil stepson trying always to oust him from his home.

Jubilee Cottage is here:

BookTrail locations in Knife Skills

My story acts itself out entirely within a ten minute walk of Paul’s cottage. The cookery school is a huge, somewhat gloomy house in Chester Square. It’s complete with servants’ bells and a dumb waiter; the classes are held in its converted ballroom.

Chester Square

At one time the square was a favoured address for politicians (Macmillan, Thatcher). As a cub reporter I was sent by my magazine to one of the corner properties to interview Yehudi Menuhin (Lady Menuhin did most of the talking). Now most of the properties have fallen into the hands of the mega-rich. One evening in my book Paul looks out across the square and wonders why no lights are on; because all the owners are off on their superyachts or skiing at Zermatt, that’s why.

Belgravia Police Station

BookTrail locations in Knife Skills

Without wishing to give the story away, at one point Paul finds himself carted off to Belgravia Police Station for questioning. It adds to his distress to find himself in such an ugly modern building after the graceful surroundings he is used to. Since writing the novel, the police station has been closed: I’m hoping the shops or hotel rumoured to replace it will be easier on the eye.

 

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Knife Skills for Beginners

Twitter: @orlandomurrin   web:www.orlandomurrin.com/

 

 

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