"Unusual and intriguing perspective on a cold case. A good cross genre story with amusement as well as gore"
Parade's beat is the Welsh town of Pontypridd - "Pontypridd was a vibrant cosmopolitan town and had all the attendant problems that went with such prosperity. Alongside the great wealth there existed extreme poverty and the streets were often lawless – river traders, gypsies, pickpockets, drifters, even escaped convicts ranging from petty thieves to crazed killers would come up the canals and make for the alehouses and taverns of which there were plenty. There they would mingle and lose themselves among the sea of faces. Though it had not always been so and the town, once a rural backwater, had been born out of the industrialisation of the surrounding areas and had benefited from its close proximity to the Glamorganshire Canal, which allowed access from Merthyr’s coalfields to the docks in Cardiff and from there the world beyond."
One area of Pontypridd featured heavily in the book is The Tumble - the modern day Tumble is pictured left and the pic above is the same area as it was in Parade's day. Note the trams that ran the length of the town during the days that Frank Parade walked the cobbled streets.
Today the Tumble is made up of a busy main road but sadly the town is no longer the thriving attraction it once was. The main building in the picture is today known as The Soul Suite but in Parade's day it was The White Hart and behind that is the River Taff and the beautiful Ponty Park.
"The colour of the setting, the atmosphere and the characterization are all top-class."
I have tried to remain accurate with Ponty's georgraphy in A Policeman's Lot although I have taken some artistic licence in the name of telling a story. For instance in the novel the fictional alehouse, The Butcher's Arms is situated opposite the White Hart and it is here that much of the action takes place. The landlord is one Eli Jenkins, a small wiry man who is always on the lookout to make money, legal or otherwise.
"The story takes place a number of years after the Whitechapel murders but ties back to those murders in a most interesting way. I won't give more away because the twist at the end is original and took me well by surprise. Yet, it made perfect sense within the storyline of the book."
"Eventually the Taff Vale railway had linked Pontypridd to the Rhondda creating a fast and efficient artery into the coal scarred hills. Each year would see over 57 million tons of steam coal shipped down from The Black Klondike, as the valleys were
now known. The coal would then be transported down to Cardiff and Barry and once again sent around the world. Fires, the industrialised world over burned bright with Rhondda coal."
A Policeman's Lot is available from all the usual book outlets as well as from publisher, Solstice's own website.