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Travel to Penrith with The Bingo Detectives and Jonathan Whitelaw

  • Submitted: 23rd October 2022

Penrith –  The Bingo Hall Detectives and Jonathan Whitelaw

PENRITH is one of those towns that everyone has heard of, but few tend to visit.

It’s described (by Wikipedia at least) a market town and civil parish in the county of Cumbria, England, about 17 miles (27 km) south of Carlisle.

BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives



It is less than 3 miles (5 km) outside the Lake District National Park, in between the Rivers Petteril and Eamont and just north of the River Lowther. It had a population of 15,181 at the 2011 Census.

BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives


BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives

Now that all sounds very official, but it doesn’t really get to the heart of what the town is.

Penrith is special to me as it’s the location of The Bingo Hall Detectives.

When I first sat down to come up with the idea, location was a big part of what I hoped to do.

Location to cosy crime is as important as the forensic evidence to a police procedural – if it’s not right, the whole thing comes apart.

That’s why the setting for BHD had to be on the button before I had even written a word.

Penrith town centre:

BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives

As a frequent visitor to Penrith, Ullswater and the Lake District in general, it seems like a perfect fit for the cosy sleuthing I had in mind for my son and mother-in-law dynamic duo.

Jason and Amita are like chalk and cheese – but they’re still family. And as we all know, you can’t choose your family.

Penrith – golf area and The Beacon

BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives

With a setting like Penrith and the north lakes, not only did I have the perfect mix of rural and urban setting, but also a chance to write my own ode to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery in the world.

The rolling hills, the sweeping valleys and of course, the mighty lakes themselves, the whole area is a treasure trove for bucolic wonder fans, not to mention the ramblers amongst us.

And especially in the autumn, when all the leaves start to change colour – there’s a genuine magic to the place that I’ve rarely seen or felt anywhere else.

But away from the stunning countryside, Penrith felt like home for Jason and Amita straight away.

BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives

While the church hall where the bingo club meet is fictional, it’s in the centre of the town, close to the iconic Musgrave Monument (above)

The huge clock tower is centuries old and serves as a distinctive part of Penrith’s skyline.

It would have felt like a bit of a cheat to NOT include it in the novel, given how prominent the landmark is and how important a place it is for the town.

BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives

One location that is VERY real, however, is James & John Graham – a delightful deli and butchers that sits just in the shadow of the monument.

I can honestly say that they sell the single best scones I have ever tasted in my life.

And would actively encourage EVERYONE to make a trip to Penrith JUST TO GET SOME.

In the Bingo Hall Detectives, Jason and Amita retreat to a fictionalised version of the shop when they need time to think, to recover or just for a good cup of tea.

After a long day exploring wonderful Cumbria, I can promise you that a trip to James & John Graham is totally worth it.

BookTrail The Bingo Hall Detectives

It seems somewhat inappropriate to talk about Penrith and NOT mention the ruins of the castle.

They’re a great place to go for a walk in the centre of the town, and you can see them prominently from the train as you pass through.

And while they have a fleeting cameo in The BHD, I don’t mind telling you that they’ll play a much BIGGER part in the upcoming second in the series.

I only wish I could reveal the title – but I’m sworn to secrecy!!

So that’s all you’re getting… for now.


Thank you Jonathan – our first member of CCC to come for tea and biscuits at The BookTrail. Next week we get to meet….well, as Jonathan said, that would be telling……


BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Bingo Hall Detectives

Twitter: @JDWhitelaw13

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