In Chris Nickson’s Victorian police procedural The Iron Water, two macabre discoveries in a single morning present an intriguing challenge for Detective Inspector Tom Harper. Here author Chris Nickson tells us a little more about the story behind the book…
Like the other books in the Tom Harper series, the spark behind The Iron Water is a real event in the 1890s – testing a torpedo by blowing up a wooden boat on Waterloo Lake in Roundhay Park. The torpedo had been developed by a Leeds engineer.
Other things in the book are real, too. Tom Maguire and Isabella Ford both existed, and were important forces in the progressive politics of the time. The small book on Annabelle’s working appeared under the auspices of the Independent Labour Party in 1894, under the title hypnotic Leeds.
Some of the boxing matches mentioned took place, and the incident with Buffalo Bill Cody losing a fight in a Leeds pub may (or may not) be real. But sometimes a good tale is better than the truth.
The four books in the series have a very personal connection. The Victoria public house, which Annabelle owns, was a real place; it only closed a few years ago. My great-grandfather was the landlord there for over 20 years, although after Annabelle would have had the place. Before that he ran the Royal in Hunslet, which has a role in the previous Harper book, Skin Like Silver.
CHRIS NICKSON is a music journalist as well as the author of three previous Tom Harper mysteries, and six novels in the Richard Nottingham series. Having lived in the USA for 30 years, he has recently returned to his native Leeds, in the UK.
Praise for Chris Nickson:
“Tautly written and highly engaging, with a keep-‘em-guessing plot and plenty of late nineteeth-century period details” Booklist on Skin Like Silver
“A riveting historical setting. Readers of Iain Pears and Will Thomas will enjoy this historical series” Library Journal on Skin Like Silver
“Full of engaging characters as the author intertwines social problems with murder” Kirkus Reviews on Skin Like Silver
“Victorian era Leeds comes alive as an unusual setting … Recommend for anyone who loves Anne Perry’s Victorian crime novels” Library Journal Starred Review of Two Bronze Pennies
“Redolent of the smells, sights, and sounds of 19th-century England, suspense-filled, tense, and engrossing … an excellent addition to the series” Booklist on Two Bronze Pennies
For further information on Chris Nickson and The Iron Water, please visit our website here.