Vera – Harbour Street – a Northumberland booktrail

Why a booktrail?

Set in Northumberland and Newcastle -this is a great mystery for Vera to solve and the sixth book in the Vera series

SEE THE NEW INTERACTIVE BOOK TRAIL MAP HERE 

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Story in a nutshell

A metro full of Christmas revellers has stopped at a station before its final destination, due to the ‘wrong sort of snow’. Everybody gets off, except an old lady, nicely dressed. Joe Ashworth is on the train that night with his young daughter Jesse – they should be home by now, best phone a  taxi. Jesse goes to the old lady ‘Look that old lady hasn’t moved’

The taxi firm answered his call at the same time as Jesse screamed

Place and setting

Mardle and Harbour Street - aka The Cliff House at Amble
Mardle and Harbour Street – aka The Cliff House at Amble

This is a novel where the setting IS one of the leading characters and even though the Mardle of the novel is fictional, it is no less threatening and gloomy –

Mardle wasn’t a place for tourists, even in the summer. There was nothing beyond the fisheries except the harbour, enclosed by the wall. The boats there were dark shadows, half-hidden by the drifting flakes.

Amble Harbour Where Harbour street is said to be located near to. Cliff House The building which appears on the HB and PB editions of the book Alnmouth Some of the filming for the TV show took place here Newcastle Fenwicks Where Vera is unexpectedly found shopping Newcastle Lit and Phil The Lit and Phil library?.. It’s where book -lovers hang out’
Amble Harbour
Where Harbour street is said to be located near to.
Cliff House
The building which appears on the HB and PB editions of the book
Alnmouth
Some of the filming for the TV show took place here
Newcastle Fenwicks
Where Vera is unexpectedly found shopping
Newcastle Lit and Phil
The Lit and Phil library?.. It’s where book -lovers hang out’

It soon became clear that there was lots about Harbour Street that wasn’t attractive – hidden secrets, dark pasts, twisted thoughts and the fact that none of the residents here seem willing to talk.

Why would such  well dressed and elegant lady find herself living in Mardle and more importantly who would want to kill her?

Even Vera thinks that she was ‘more Gosforth than Mardle from her appearance. (Gosforth was one of Newcastle’s posher suburbs.)

Harbour Street is just the kind of  chewy puzzle Vera loves to sink her teeth into – she admits she feels a thrill when she is in Fenwicks of Newcastle shopping and the call comes in telling her a woman has been killed on the metro. But then guilt replaces it as she remembers that everysomeone has a relative or friend that wil be devastated.

More on the setting- http://www.visitnorthumberland.com/

The iconic yellow beacon -(c)the booktrailer

At the end of the street, like a beacon or a square glowing moon, shone the yellow cab with the black M that marked the metro station. This was Harbour Street

Mardle -inspired by Amble when the author wrote the book but only in a logistical sense! Alnmouth – where Harbour Street is filmed. Nothing like Mardle thankfully!

'The Blinking Eye' Bridge aka The Millennium Bridge
‘The Blinking Eye’ Bridge aka The Millennium Bridge – image from Wikipedia

It is not just the Northumberland landscape that is featured as we also get a short tour around the city of Newcastle itself –

Newcastle was full of people and friendly, they walked arm in arm between the art galleries , crossing the tyne by the Blinking Eye Bridge. or

The Metro into Newcastle for an afternoon of culture – a new exhibition at the Baltic on the river and a stroll around the Laing Art Gallery

Special mention has to be made of Newcastle where we meet Vera in an unfamiliar setting – shopping!

So here she was in Fenwick’s department store, sweating because she was still in her outdoor clothes, surrounded by smart and shiny people.

Finally mention should be made of a place central to the plot of the book where Vera goes looking for someone. It is a fantastic place and so well described here. Everyone needs to go here just maybe not on a trail with Vera stomping behind you –

Some library? A visit to a proper place for books to be cherished

The Lit and Phil library?..

It’s where book -lovers hang out’

Aaah those walls are made of books
Aaah those walls are made of books !!

Vera stood outside the Georgian symmetry of the Lit and Phil library in Newcastle

They climbed the stairs to the library on the first floor and opened the door to s room flooded with light from the glass domes. The walls were made of books

A murder mystery with a meaty puzzle to get your teeth stuck into. Vera at her very best. And a tour of Northumberland and Newcastle, not to mention a starting role for its special place for book lovers.

Harbour that thought when you read Harbour Street.

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4 thoughts on “Vera – Harbour Street – a Northumberland booktrail

    1. You can start with any of the Vera books as they dont follow on. The characters develop of course but this doesnt spoil or change the reading. This is book 6 I believe but my favourite!

  1. hrh

    What serendipity! I’ll be watching “On Harbour Street” in about two hours on PBS! The local station began broadcasting all episodes in order a few months ago on Thursday nights.

    Have developed quite a soft spot for Vera. Quite the opposite for sexy Joe!

    1. Oh I love the word and the notion of Serendipity. Hope you enjoy the TV version too – its filmed in the wonderful area of Northumberland North East England and around Amble in particular so you should spot some lovely scenery that might inspire you to visit one day! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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