Today it is my stop on the Blog Tour for Married Lies by Chris Collett. This is Book 5 in the DI Tom Mariner series. For my stop I am sharing with you a Guest Post by Chris Collett where she talks about Birmingham, the setting for the Tom Mariner series. I hope you enjoy the photographs (taken by Chris) and reading about the area.
Location, location, location..
I’m often asked about the location for the Mariner books, Britain’s second city, Birmingham. It’s not my home turf, I grew up somewhere very different – a seaside town in Norfolk – and never envisaged that I would spend my adult life land-locked. My first impressions were formed when I went away to college and the regular train journey took me from the east to the west of the country, via the midlands. What I saw of Birmingham I didn’t much like; rows and rows of tower blocks, the vast concrete structures of Spaghetti Junction and the sprawling industrial hinterland of the Black Country. Added to which, I’d grown up in the 1970s, when the word Birmingham was usually followed by the phrase ‘pub bombings’.
But when I graduated in the early 1980s jobs were scarce, so when my first offer came from Birmingham I took it, confident that after a couple of years I would move on. But fate had other ideas and in a matter of weeks I met my husband-to-be, a Brummie born and bred, so here I have stayed. And now, having really got to know the city, my preconceptions have been well and truly overturned and I often find myself coming to its defence. Although founded on a rich heritage, Birmingham’s rapid evolution, especially in the last twenty years or so, and its diverse population means that it retains a brash, edgy and slightly dangerous feel. It’s the perfect setting for a crime series as it really does have everything, including some surprising and fascinating features. There’s far more to the city than the bull ring, spaghetti junction and the maligned Brummy accent!
So, how much of the real Birmingham is in the books? The suburb of Bournville – home to the fictional Granville Lane police station – and the nearby University of course, really do exist. Readers familiar with Birmingham will recognise the state of the art Queen Elizabeth Hospital, with its military facility. Brindley Place, the Jewellery Quarter and Chinatown all provide wonderful locations, and it is a short drive out from the suburbs into rural Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire and the Welsh borders. All of these and more feature in the Mariner novels. But there are also innumerable places that exist only in my head. Mariner’s own little corner of the city, Kings Mead and his canal side home are entirely fictional, although a number of readers have told me they know it!
Some years ago, when I was first seeking a publisher, I received an offer from a major publishing house, but on the proviso that the books were rewritten with London as the setting. Turning down that offer was a big deal – it was the best I’d had at that point – but I’ve never had cause to regret that decision.
By Chris Collett
MARRIED LIES by CHRIS COLLETT
Do you love gripping mysteries with great characters?
Discover Detective Tom Mariner in this critically acclaimed series.
‘Collett is a wonderful writer, subtle, clever, strong on atmosphere and character.’ Yorkshire Post
Lucy Jarrett is terrified. Someone is watching her every move, following her home from work and making threatening phone calls. But her husband doesn’t believe her and no one else is listening.
Lucy’s married life is proving anything but blissful. Her musician husband is perpetually away on tour and doesn’t want to start a family.
Lucy finally calls on DI Tom Mariner for help, and he takes her fears seriously because of the recent murder of another young woman by her ex-partner.
Mariner himself is already on the hunt for a sadistic killer. Nina Silvero, wife of an ex-police officer, was duped into sipping sulphuric acid disguised as celebratory wine. Grappling with her apparently motiveless killing, Mariner delegates Lucy’s case to Millie Khatoon. Is someone out for revenge against the police?
Can DI Tom Mariner track down the stalker and catch the killer before anyone else dies?
Discover an absorbing crime mystery full of stunning twists and turns.
Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. This is the fifth book in the DI MARINER SERIES, more books coming soon!
Birmingham is a city of stark contrasts with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, it helped shape the nation’s manufacturing industry
But with its many green spaces, Birmingham also borders on the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, is just a few miles from Stratford on Avon and a short drive from the wild country of mid-Wales.
Birmingham’s population is large and ethnically diverse, and while urban regeneration has forged a modern and culturally vibrant city, the decaying remnants of the industrial past and 1960s concrete jungle give it a unique and gritty character; the dark underbelly policed by DI Tom Mariner and his team.
Detective Inspector Tom Mariner is, on the surface, an average dedicated policeman, but his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into life on the dark side, and a clear sense of right and wrong. Mariner has little interest in material things. He lives in a modest canal-side cottage, enjoys the occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes and drives an old car. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis, will take off and walk for miles in any weather.
THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “STALKED BY SHADOWS.”
DI MARINER SERIES
Book 1: Deadly Lies
Book 2: Innocent Lies
Book 3: Killer Lies
Book 4: Baby Lies
Book 5: Married Lies
Books 6-7 coming soon
CHRIS COLLETT – AUTHOR BIO
I was born and grew up in a Norfolk seaside town, almost as far east as it’s possible to go in England without falling into the North Sea. There I worked variously in a boarding house (now defunct) a local bakery (closed down) and a crisp factory (razed to the ground). I graduated in Liverpool, then for twenty-five years taught children and young people with learning disabilities, including autism, before going into higher education as a senior lecturer.
Mindful of its reputation, I moved somewhat reluctantly to Birmingham, where I met my husband, in 1981. But just a few years later DI Tom Mariner was created to police its mean streets, and these days I relish the vibrancy and rich social history of the city. After eight outings for Mariner, I still feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface.
Recently retired from lecturing and I’m currently luxuriating in the time I now have to continue the Mariner series, alongside published short stories and academic works. In my spare time, among other things, I’m a manuscript assessor for the Crime Writers Association.