The Iron Water is Chris Nickson’s new Victorian police procedural, set in Leeds in 1893, with two macabre discoveries in a single morning presenting an intriguing challenge for Detective Inspector Tom Harper. Whilst witnessing the demonstration of a devastating new naval weapon, the torpedo, at Roundhay Park, the explosion brings up a body in the lake, a rope lashed tightly around its waist. At the same time, dredging operations in the River Aire are disrupted when a woman’s severed leg floats to the water’s surface, still clad in its stocking and boot. Could the two macabre discoveries be connected?
Chris Nickson gives some background on the torpedo trial in Roundhay Park…
It seems that in 1893 there was a trial of a torpedo on Waterloo Lake in Roundhay Park, using the missile to blow up a wooden boat. However, references to the event are quite sketchy, with few details. Confusingly, the term used for nautical mines in those days was torpedoes. I’ve stuck to the modern meaning to avoid confusion.
The case of Charlotte Brooker is based on the death on Mary Ann Brook (or Brooke, or Brookes) in 1885. Her leg was brought up by a dredger in the River Aire, and the rest of the body recovered several days later in the canal. At the inquest the jury delivered an open verdict.
The Iron Water by Chris Nickson, is out now – please see here for further information about Chris Nickson and his work.
Earlier titles in this series include: