Murder comes to Pontefract again, baa gum.

09 +00002016-11-07T19:03:45+00:0030 2012 § 11 Comments

The Pontefract Fleece Force

The Pontefract Fleece Force

Saturday November 5th was a cold, squally day, a fitting atmosphere for Bonfire Night. I was probably feeling the cold more than most, having just returned from some time away on business, first in Quito and then in Charleston, South Carolina (more about both on these pages very soon). The temperature in each of these places was around twenty-five degrees.

I was in Pontefract, a historic Yorkshire town, scene of gruesome murders during the Wars of the Roses and, almost two centuries later, in the English Civil War. Pontefract library is a light and airy building with lots of glass and invitingly-arranged bookshelves that fan out from the centre as well as lining the walls. I’d been very kindly invited by Alison Cassels, the Officer for Reading at Wakefield Library Services, with whom I have several times participated in crime fiction events in West Yorkshire; she had asked me to speak about Rooted in Dishonour, which will be published on 15th November, read one of the chapters and then host a more general literary event, which included asking the audience to name their favourite novels and take part in a short ‘whodunnit’ play written by Ann Cleeves.

It was a long time since I’d last visited Pontefract Library and I enjoyed going back. A small flock of helmeted sheep occupied the ‘Fleece Station’ and busied itself with a murder scene just outside. The corpse had been already removed, having first been outlined by Eweno Hugh, the soco. I noted the chalked heels and deduced that the victim had been female. I heard that DI Tup, who had been protecting some productive grass from persecution by local thieves, would soon be on the case. I felt quite at home. Furthermore, as the Ann Cleeves playlet was set in Shetland, refreshments included shortbread and Tunnock’s teacakes, a treat that I’ve rarely seen since I worked in Scotland some twenty years ago.

















The audience consisted of about twenty-five people, a few of whom I’d already met at events in Wakefield in previous years.  They were truly one of the liveliest, most receptive audiences I’ve ever encountered.  They gave Rooted in Dishonour a wonderful debut and asked so many questions that the event lasted two hours, instead of the hour that had been scheduled. If anyone who came on Saturday is reading this, I’d like to thank you very much indeed.

Huge thanks also to Alison, Lynne, Liz and Lynne and their colleagues, who made me feel as welcome and special as they always do.

Rooted in Dishonour’s launch event will take place at Bookmark in Spalding on Tuesday 15th November, the publication date; I’ll be signing books in the afternoon and talking about the novel and giving readings in the evening.  More details may be found at  On Saturday 19th November, I’m signing copies of the novel from 11 am – 2 pm at Walker’s Bookshop in Stamford ( and on Saturday 26th November, starting at 12.30 pm,  I have a signing session at Heffer’s Bookshop in Cambridge (, as part of the Cambridge Literary Festival.

With Alison Cassels

With Alison Cassels

I’m also hoping to be able to spend rather more time blogging and catching up with many good friends on the social networks; they have been very, very kind to me on Twitter and Facebook whilst I have been caught up in work. Many sincere thanks to them all.

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§ 11 Responses to Murder comes to Pontefract again, baa gum.

  • mauveone2014 says:

    Hi Christina, I was pleased to see you again complete with your management!! To say you were probably jet lagged, you looked very well. I think Alison and Lynne put on some exceptionally inventive events in Wakefield’s Libraries, with this one, they surpassed themselves – Hope we get some more.

    Your new book sounds interesting about the so called’ honour killings’, in this part of Yorkshire, it is something we hear about in the media too often. They never seem to think that murdering your daughter is the most dishonourable act anyone could do. I am looking forward to reading the book to see how D. I. Yates solves the crime.

    I did not get the opportunity to speak to you, my husband has recently self-published a factual book about his ancestors. It is called ‘de Lacy Chronicles’ based on the history of the de Lacy family from their roots in Normandy to Pontefract (via various battles and Castles.) Perhaps you would like to have a look at his website
    Love and thanks to you both for a lovely friendly afternoon.

    • Hello, Marjorie! Thank you very much for this – I really appreciate it – and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the event. I agree with you about Alison and Lynne – their inventiveness is matched by their enthusiasm. I’m very interested to hear about your husband’s book and shall certainly take a look at the website. Thanks for the link. It was lovely seeing you again and we both look forward to the next time. 🙂

  • J welling says:

    I love the fleece force. I’m not a fan of cute and do find puns unsophisticated. The fleece force is however wonderful.

    I’ve received the look on lambkins face from inquiring officers in my youthful misadventures.

  • vallypee says:

    Ah, Christina, I’m late again here, but as always enjoyed your post. Unlike you and Jack, I confess to being a sucker for cute when it comes to animals, but that’s my weakness and I must live with it 🙂 It sounds as if this was a wonderful afternoon. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and had such a great reception. I’m looking forward to receiving my copy of the new DI Yates when it comes out. I’ve pre-ordered it, so it will reach me as soon as possible! I’m currently being brave and reading a detective series in Dutch. Maybe you’ve heard of Appie Baantjer? His books were televised, but I am reading a series one which he collborated with a fellow writer Simon de Waal. I’m throughly enjoying them as they are set in Amsterdam and have a wonderful sense of place. However, when DI Yates some knocking on my door, I’ll be sure to put them away for a bit!

    • Thank you, Valerie! For all of this! No, I haven’t come across him – must have missed the televised series. I’ll look out for him. I hope that you enjoy Rooted in Dishonour, which goes live tomorrow. I’m not at all ready, having been working in Ecuador and the States for a while. I’ll be in Spalding for the launch, tomorrow evening, with a signing session before it in the afternoon, both of them at Bookmark bookshop. I’m also recovering from some no-doubt-plane-acquired illness which has just about floored me – it was, in fact, starting just as I was at Pontefract – I can’t blame the sheep!
      I’m astonished that all my network friends have not given up on me this year, which I know you know has been unusually difficult. You, in particular, with such enthusiasm for DI Yates and his adventures, have been just wonderful and I’m much in your debt for all your shouts on my behalf. Thank you very much indeed.

  • vallypee says:

    Reblogged this on Val Poore and commented:
    Looking forward to Rooted in Dishonour’s arrival through my letterbox!

  • cav12 says:

    Congratulations on the latest publication of your book, Christina! Wow, you have been a busy writer 😀
    I’ve yet to type a word, for my book that is, this year!!
    I hope the launch went well.

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