I’m in Paris trying to write. It is such a simple statement, in fact what could be more so? Well, I suppose if I were in Paris to draw cartoons that might be even simpler? Right up until today that is.
Today, two highly trained assassins pushed their way into a plain looking office building up the road and systematically killed people who draw for a living. Then, almost casually, they moved outside and started killing the people who choose to protect the world for a living. It is as brutal and senseless as that.
All these people had families and lives; they actively contributed to our world society. They made us laugh. Now it may be that they didn’t contribute in a way the killers liked but they had a voice that has been extinguished. Of course just weeks ago we agreed as a group to expand the title to cover those who use a pen to show us stories and it seems somehow so reassuring that in our small way, our group can say it sees the power of that for all our benefit.
So…What next? Its quiet on the streets in Paris with the wail of sirens the only real puncture wounding the damp foggy evening outside. I feel I should have something profound to say, but am honestly baffled by this awful day – what harm can a simple sketch do? We know now that it can do a great deal of apparent harm for blinkered and rigid fundamentalists as it works to provoke a response. So do we shut up? The hell we don’t:
“I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.”
Salman Rushdie, Wednesday 7th January 2015
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Diners turn detective for launch of new RC Bridgestock novel
Diners will be invited to turn detective at a murder mystery evening to celebrate the launch of the latest book from phenomenally popular crime authors RC Bridgestock.
The latest DI Dylan novel Reprobates is out on June 19 and promises to be the biggest success to date for husband and wife writing team Bob and Carol Bridgestock, who originally hail from Halifax.
Alongside writing the DI Dylan series Bob and Carol are storyline consultants on BBC1 drama, Happy Valley, and have also been consultants for other police series including Scott and Bailey.
To celebrate the launch of their fifth novel a restaurant will be transformed into a murder scene and diners will turn detective to follow the clues to solve the mystery of ‘whodunit’.
The black tie event will take place at Prego Italian restaurant in Brighouse on Saturday July 5 and there will also be a raffle to raise money for the Forget Me Not children’s hospice in Huddersfield – the couple’s chosen charity for 2014 – as well as the chance to win a signed copy of Reprobates.
Carol said: “Reprobates is similar to the others in the DI Dylan series in that it is a true police procedural – nothing that happens in the novel is different from how it would be in real life. It gives the reader the chance to sit on the shoulder of a detective and see exactly what happens as a murder case progresses.
“We do draw on the actual experiences of police inspectors in these scenarios – for example, who knew that cramp is a problem when you spend such a lot of time in a mortuary, because the constant low temperature makes the floor very cold and this seeps into your bones through your shoes.
“It’s no wonder that many of our readers are former police officers – they appreciate the authenticity.”
The plot of the couple’s fifth book is set in the fictional Yorkshire town of Harrowfield, where Jack Dylan is a detective inspector and his wife Jen works in the force’s personnel department.
Burglars strike at the local mortuary but the only thing missing is the body of a 30-year-old woman. The same morning, police divers pull a man’s body out of the nearby canal. Then a masked intruder is stabbed by a female householder – but all is not as it seems… there is a link that connects the cases whose depths are murkier than that of the canal.
Meanwhile, Jen uncovers the real and shocking reason that a large chunk of her husband’s record has been missing for years…
The Bridgestocks draw on their 50 years’ combined experience to make the DI Dylan series the ultimate in authentic and accurate police procedurals. Bob was a Senior Investigating Officer with West Yorkshire Police and in his final three years alone was in charge of investigating 26 murders, working on among others the Yorkshire Ripper case and the murder of Morley schoolgirl Sarah Harper.
Carol, meanwhile, draws on her time as a police admin support worker to flesh out the characters and bring them to life.
The couple’s first novel, Deadly Focus, was self-published in 2009. In June 2011 this was re published by Caffeine Nights Publishing when the couple signed a contract with the publishing house for all of the DI Dylan series.
Tickets for the murder mystery evening cost £35 and are available from Prego at the Waterfront Lodge and Hotel, Huddersfield Road, Brighouse, in person or by ringing 01484 715566. Bob and Carol will be signing copies of their books at the event.
Guests wishing to stay overnight can enjoy a special rate at the adjoining Waterfront Lodge, with a single room available for just £30, doubles for £40, executive rooms for £55 or a deluxe suite for £65. All prices include breakfast the next morning.
Reprobates is out on June 19 but is available to pre-order now from Amazon and other leading retailers.
For further information please contact Integrity PR at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @integritypruk
Notes to Editors:
The first RC Bridgestock novel Deadly Focus was published in 2009. Since then they have enjoyed considerable success with their follow-up novels Consequences (2012), White Lilies (2013) and Snow Kills (2013).
Praise for the Bridgestocks:
“The husband-and-wife co-authors, who spent years working within the police force, make this fictional tale believable in every way. A cracking story.”
Natasha Harding, the Sun
“Most importantly, the police characters are believable and one cares about them. The mortuary viewing scene is heart-breaking. In fact, it’s a difficult book to put down.”
Peter J Hammond – Scriptwriter Midsomer Murders
Follow RC Bridgestock on Twitter @RCBridgestock and on the Facebook page: RC Bridgestock
My creators are seasonal police officers with almost half a century of experience between them. They are driven to write the Detective Inspector Dylan series by detailing the true facts of major incident investigations through their fictional work.
Which parts of the novels are fact or fiction I will leave that for you to decide.
The narrative aims to educate, entertain and amuse you with fast moving story lines.
One thing you can be sure of is that you will never be far from my side throughout every investigation. You will get to know me and that means getting first-hand experience of what a real life Senior Investigating Officer really thinks and feels on the job. As well a coming home with me to Jen my wife, daughter Maisy and Max our Golden Retriever to see how the job affects our home life.
Be prepared for your emotions to be taken on a roller coaster ride as you with me become enthralled in the role of a real life investigator.
Who, when, where, why, what and how will be the most used words in your vocabulary.
Who strives for justice for the victims and their family? We do.
When are we available? We are 24/7 always on call.
Where are we located ? Harrowfield, Yorkshire, Northern England
What makes a good detective? We never assume. We deal in facts.
How will we find the killer(s)? We are relentless. We start each
investigation by clearing the
ground beneath our feet.
All the time searching for
and seizing evidence.
Being a detective is a job that requires stamina and an inbuilt mechanism to cope with the
sadness, violence and perverted addictions our fellow human beings inflict upon each other.
However remember you are not the Judge.Your role is to solve the mystery, arrest the perpetrator(s) and bring them before a Court of Law.
We often have to subdue our personal emotions which sometimes are pushed to the very limits.
Are you up to the challenge?
Senior Investigating Officer.
- In Police Custody
Bob Bridgestock attends a murder scene in his role as
Detective Superintendent Bridgestock in West Yorkshire Police
A mortuary was never a place on my ‘wish list’ to visit, but as a police investigator it was a very necessary part of my role. Some senior investigators choose to delegate this task – not me. It is my view it is essential that an SIO sees this procedure for first-hand knowledge of what he/she is dealing with, in terms of the evidence it will reveal.
We have all no doubt heard the word post-mortem or autopsy, as the procedure is sometimes known as in the various media. But what is it?
The Coroner is bound by law to carry out a post-mortem when a death is deemed to be suspicious, sudden or unnatural.The Coroner will also decide if an inquest is necessary. (See blog – ‘The purpose of an inquest’).
Forensic Pathologists are the experts who perform the procedure to ascertain the cause of a death. Causation is a term readily used.They will have strong medical backgrounds. Studying the dead obviously isn’t for everyone – even doctors!
The post-mortem is of paramount importance to the investigator during homicide investigations and a catalyst in bringing the perpetrator(s) before the Court.
As a young police officer attending a post-mortem for the first time I was somewhat overwhelmed to see what took place – and the smell is something I will never forget as long as I live. However, during my thirty years experience as a police officer it was a place I would be required to visit on numerous occasions, even more so in my latter years as a Senior Investigating Officer taking charge of numerous murder investigations and suspicious deaths.
As a Detective Superintendent I have stood alongside many eminent pathologists as they have diligently carried out these procedures, which can take hours. On enquires into multiple deaths this can take days. Body tapings, samples of hair – cut and pulled, blood, urine samples, nail scrapings, swabs are all taken as a matter of course, but each case is dealt with in isolation as the location of the body for instance may dictate other samples required. i.e. soil, pollen, water etc.
Detective Supintendent Bridgestock at a press conference
Equipped with the knowledge of how, when, where and what caused a persons death is power to the ‘investigators elbow’. Understanding what type and size of weapon caused an injury, coupled with the angle of the attack is of paramount importance for the subsequent interviewing of a suspect. Knowing whether an injury was caused prior to, during or after the death of the victim is another valuable piece of information.
On occasions forensic pathologists are called to the ‘murder scene’ to examine the body in situ, before it is transferred to the mortuary. This is to assist in interpreting what is likely to have taken place. They may also be able to clarify if the location is also likely to be the ‘murder site’ or a ‘dump site – in their view.
When the pathologist does not attend the scene then the first time he or she sees the body is at the mortuary. In this case the senior investigating officer will narrate the identity, if known, of the victim and when, where, how it was found and in what circumstances.
Even when a murderer(s) are believed to have been meticulous in their planning, evidence you can be sure will be still be found.
Investigations are a transparent search for the truth, a post-mortem assists in proving someones innocence as well as guilt.
When a person is charged a second post-mortem is carried out by the deference to ensure the facts are as previously discovered.
All night without sleep and Detective Superintendent Bridgestock is infront of the world media.
Our DI Dylan fictional crime novels are written with the thoughts, feelings and sights in mind that Bob & I was privy to in our police careers.
Read more about us and our work @ www.rcbridgestock.com
How to conquer your fear of failure
Fear of failure is probably the single greatest obstacle to success in our adult lives. We become totally preoccupied with not making a mistake and with seeking approval. The fear of failure is expressed in the words “I can’t”. We feel it in a physical way by the fast beating of the heart, rapid breathing and a tight throat. We also experience this in the irresistible need to run to the loo.
Our second major fear that creates an obstacle in our performance is the fear of rejection. We learn this at a very early age when our parents or guardians make their love conditional upon our behaviour. If we do something to please them, they give us love and approval. If we do something to displease them, they withdraw their love and approval – which we often interpret as rejection.
Going through divorce can trigger these feelings of failure. But remember, the marriage failed, not you.
As adults , we become preoccupied with the opinions of others because of this perceived rejection. Many people develop hostility, suspicion and an obsession with performance to some imagined high standard. This is a belief that we have to work harder and accomplish more in order to please the boss. The boss has been replaced as the parent and is perceived as the approval giver.
Research has shown that more than 99 percent of adults experience both these fears of failure and rejection. They are caught in the vicious circle of feeling, “I can’t, but “I have to,” and “I have to,” but “I can’t.”
We can beat these fears by developing our self-esteem, courage and character. We can increase our self-love and self-respect. Acting with courage in a fearful situation is a technique that boosts our love for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and they lose their ability to affect our behaviour and our decisions.
Firstly , we need to realise and accept that we can do anything we put your minds to. Repeat the words, “I can do it! I can do it!” whenever we feel afraid.
Secondly, we need to continually remind ourselves of just how wonderful we are, think of ourselves as valuable and important people and remember that temporary failure is the way we learn how to succeed.
We are working alongside Sally Wainwright, Sarah Lancashire, Steve Pemberton, Siobhan Finneran, George Costigan and Joe Armstrong in dark new BBC One drama series, Happy Valley
Carol & Bob Bridgestock Look North BBC 1
Happy Valley has begun filming in the Calder Valley area of Yorkshire and will be broadcast on BBC One in 2014. We will be joining the cast on set for filming Tuesday 28th January – can’t wait!
And the media are saying:-
RED Production Company have announced that a wealth of British talent will star in Happy Valley; a shocking and compelling crime thriller from award-winning writer Sally Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax, Scott & Bailey) for BBC One.
Joining Sarah Lancashire (Last Tango in Halifax, The Paradise) will be Steve Pemberton (Whitechapel, Benidorm), Siobhan Finneran (The Syndicate, Downton Abbey), George Costigan (Unforgiven, Calendar Girls), Joe Armstrong (The Village, Robin Hood), James Norton (Rush, Death Comes to Pemberley), Adam Long (Spike Island, Waterloo Road), Karl Davies (Emmerdale, Game of Thrones), Ramon Tikaram (Casualty, Eastenders) and Charlie Murphy (Love/Hate, The Village).
Lancashire plays Catherine, a no-nonsense police sergeant who heads up a team of dedicated police officers in a rural valley in Yorkshire. When a staged kidnapping quickly spirals out of control and turns into a much more brutal and vicious series of crimes, Catherine finds herself involved in something significantly bigger than her rank, but unknowingly close to home.
Sarah Lancashire said: “Happy Valley is a dark, funny, multi-layered thriller revolving around the personal and professional life of Catherine, a dedicated, experienced, hard-working copper. She is also a bereaved mother who looks after her orphaned grandchild. It’s an emotional, complex, challenging role. I’m terrified, exhausted and freezing cold but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Sally Wainwright, executive producer and writer, said: “I’m pleased that we’re filming Happy Valley right in the heart of Calderdale in West Yorkshire. It’s going to be hard work, but on screen it will look stunning”.
Nicola Shindler, executive producer and founder of RED Production Company, adds: “Sally has done it once again, delivering an expertly crafted and brilliantly written drama series that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as Catherine and her team attempt to get to the bottom of a truly shocking crime. We’re delighted to have such a strong line-up of talent to bring the original and gripping scripts to life, in what is sure to be a remarkable piece of television.”
Happy Valley is 6×60 minute series made by RED Production Company for BBC One. It is written and executive produced by BAFTA-winning writer Sally Wainwright, produced by Karen Lewis (Last Tango in Halifax, Exile) and directed by Euros Lyn (Broadchurch, Doctor Who). Executive producers are Nicola Shindler and Sally Wainwright for RED Production Company and Matthew Read for BBC.
Watch this space for more…
Carol & Bob xx
For the last six years we have organised a Christmas writing competition to try to inspire others of all ages to read and write on the Isle of Wight. This year was a huge success. Here are the details and winning stories/poems for you to see.
Well done everyone!
This was their brief:-
The Wight Fair Writers Circle presents:
A Winter Short Story & Poetry Competition
‘It’s Snow Time!’
18 Fantastic prizes which include 2 x Adult Bestival Camping Tickets 2014
One winner will be:-
Published in the County Press
All three winners will be published online
& Interviewed on IW Radio!
Under 12s up to 750 words – £2 per entry
Under 18s up to 750 words – £2 per entry
Adults 1,500 – 2,000 words – £4 per entry
All proceeds to Newport Minster
Closing date 18th November 2013
Winners announced 18th December 2013 at a celebratory reception in
Newport Minster! ALL welcome!
Entry forms & rules can be obtained by:-
For further information call
Carol Bridgestock 01983 402393
Or Maggie Jones 01983 840548
Or collect & return to: Waterstones, 118 High Street, Newport
The presentation of ‘It’s Snow Time!’ the 2013 annual Wight Fair Writers Christmas short story/poetry competition which was open to Island residents, with prizes to inspire people to put pen to paper, especially children, took place on 18th December at Newport Minster.
Apart from the Wight Fair Writers Circle members, as usual I must thank many local people who made this event possible (see below). Their generosity was shown on the back of the handouts at the church on the evening.
Isle of Wight County Press
Andie Penn – All Round Entertainer http://www.andiepenn.co.uk/
email@example.com – 01983 400930
Isle of Wight Computer Geek – www.theisleofwightcomputergeek.co.uk
P J Pool Services Limited – 01983 721246
Isle of Wight Steam Railway – www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk
Wightlink – www.wightlink.co.uk
Planet Ice – www.planet-ice.co.uk
Superbowl – www.rydesuperbowl.com
Isle of Wight Pearl – www.iowpearl.co.uk
Saints Foundation – www.saintsfoundation.co.uk
Seaview Wildlife Encounter – www.seaviewwildlife.com
Dinosaur Isle – www.dinosaurisle.com
Brading Roman Villa – www.bradingromanvilla.org.uk
This year’s competition is in aid of Newport Minster Renewal funds and we raised £550.00.
Even thought the weather was very wet and blustery the winner’s certificates and prizes were announced and given out in front of an audience of over 100 people by our High Sheriff Mary Case.
The winning adult story by Michael Pope won the much coverted prize of two camping Bestival tickets for 2014.
Well done everyone! Here’s to next year!
- It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble – Michael Pope – View Story
- It’s Snow Time – Susan Irons
- A Polywosit Xmas – Eve Jackson
A Christmas Gift from Mary – John Smart
Hanging on to a Half Full Glass – Anna Hardy
Ronad the Defeated – Roger Scott
2001 a Space Odyssey ‘It’s Snow Time’ – Andrew Hough
Cold Calling – Neal Warren
- Snow Symphony – Hannah Ward – Glenton – View Story
- That One Present – Naomi Baker
- WW2 Christmas Story – Abbie Smith
It’s Snow Time – Trinity Merryweather
Frozen Time – Eloise Preston
Winter Sunset – Hannah Ward-Glenton
Twisted – Rachael Phillips
- 1. It’s Snow Time – Leah Chandler – View Story
- 2. It’s Snow Time – Cerys Brammall
- 3. The Wonderful Scene – Charlotte King
Experience the Lifetime In The Snow – Noah Patey
It’s Snow Time – Crystal Price
It’s Snow Time – Sophie Jones
Home – Jacob – Patey
The Marvel of Christmas – Hallam Saunders
It’s Snow Time – Shannon Burton
It’s Snow Time – Elizabeth Betts
Notes for editors:
For further information, pictures please contact Carol Bridgestock 01983 402393 or 07884553698 firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol announcing the winners!
The Under 18′s winner Hannah Glenton and her winning poem…
The cloud puffed out like a conductor’s chest
His chunky white tendrils forming a baton
And one, two, three- the flurry began
All at once the flecks beat out their rhythms
Some short sharp staccato, others lengthy legato-
The notes pelted my window in taps,
A crescendo of snow to the waves of his hands
THUD THUD THUD concluded the forte
as it crept back down to its original piano
I awoke the next day, my symphony slid down the glass
It had trickled and wiggled down to the ground-
It dripped, plopped, then made no further sound
Leah Chandler, the under 12′s winner and her mum choosing her prize! And her winning poem…
Icicles and snow are freezing up the land coating it in a white blanket.
Time for all the videos to break free of their cases and amuse us all.
Snow time is great…roasting sweet chestnuts by the fire and making snow angels on the ground! I can’t wait!
Scarves at the ready…time to go snow boarding down the tallest hills.
No school for a day, what will I do?
Over the hills and valleys we walked, white, white, white, is all I see, I’m so happy!
Wind storms are coming, what should I do? The snow is curving and twirling around, run inside it’s your only chance.
Teas and coffees are being served, only to the adults how absurd!
Ice is melting quick and fast, it’s nearly over, back to school!
Mice are coming back, out and about, Spring is nearly here! Does it have to end?
Eventually it all disappears and the fun with it. It goes.
By Leah Chandler
And last but not least Micheal Pope’s winning story that won him the most coveted prize of 2 x Camping Bestival Tickets to the Isle of Wight Bestival 2014.
‘It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble’
Whilst it has to be admitted that the ‘Little Dribble Players’ presented no serious threat to the ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’, the amateur dramatic society brought a great deal of pleasure and amusement to the good folk of Little Dribble … much of the amusement quite unintended.
‘The Players’ put on three productions each year. In Spring the audience would be treated to a comedy and in Autumn to a ‘whodunit’. (Which turned out to be the funniest often being a matter of luck). Christmas was, of course, the time for the pantomime. Comedy … ‘whodunit’ … pantomime. The pattern never varied. Until this year. Little Dribble couldn’t believe the news. There was to be no pantomime. Speculation as to reason for this extraordinary turn of events was rife. Could it be because of the slight ‘mishaps’ that had occurred in recent years?
Three years’ ago the village was treated to Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack, alias Minnie Monks from the village shop, (considered rather too old for the part by many), was only halfway up the beanstalk when it collapsed under her not inconsiderable weight. Fortunately, apart from a nasty bruise on her bottom, Minnie suffered no serious injury and, true trouper that she was, carried on as though nothing had happened. True, Jack having never reached the giant’s castle in the sky did rather play havoc with the plot but this was a situation not unfamiliar to the ‘Little Dribble Players’ or to its audience.
The following year it was Cinderella. Lucy Shaw was playing the part of Prince Charming. She knew, of course, that the glass slipper belonged to Cinderella and should never had said with such enthusiasm, “It fits! It fits!”, whilst trying it on the foot of one of the Ugly Sisters. Afterwards she could only put it down to a moment’s aberration, possibly caused by the child in the front row informing his mum in a very loud voice that he was going to be sick.
Last year Aladdin took the stage. Percy Small, the ‘props’ man and general factotum, assured them that the artificial smoke that would envelop the genie when he made his entrance would be no problem. (Percy had many excellent qualities, one of which was his optimism!) Rehearsals went without a hitch but, on reflection, Percy had to admit that it was probably a mistake to make the artificial smoke appear more real for the actual performances. It just hadn’t occurred to him that more real smoke would set off the fire alarms. But no real harm was done. The fire brigade was very understanding and it was simply a misfortune that it was pouring with rain when the audience had to be evacuated from the village hall.
In fact, it had been Marcus Goodfellow, ‘The Players’ rather flamboyant producer, who’d proposed at their Annual General Meeting that the long established tradition of a Christmas pantomime should be dropped. His proposal was greeted with gasps of disbelief … some gasps being little short of horror. Indeed, Annie Long, reaching for her smelling salts, insisted that Christmas without a pantomime in Little Dribble would be on a par with Christmas without roast turkey, Christmas pudding or the Queen’s speech.
“But, my dears,” Marcus continued when the hubbub had died down, “no pantomime doesn’t mean no performance.” He waited patiently for someone to ask him what he meant. The ‘someone’ in question was Percy Small. “What I mean, dear boy, is that ‘The Players’ will put on the most spectacular variety show the village has ever seen. Two glorious hours of non-stop song, dance and comedic sketches, all appropriate to the Season of Goodwill.”
Such was Marcus’s enthusiasm, it was soon agreed by all that a variety show was just what Little Dribble needed to make its Christmas complete. Even Annie Long began to warm to the idea and, before long, had convinced herself that she had been the one to think of it.
“What are we going to call it?” Minnie Monks asked. “The variety show, I mean.”
“Can’t we just call it a variety show?” Annie Long asked. “Everyone will know what that means.”
“No, it needs a catchy title,” Bob Walker, who invariably played the villain in the Autumn ‘whodunit’, joined in the conversation. “Something that will make people sit up and take notice. How about, ‘It’s Show Time in Little Dribble’?”
“What an excellent suggestion, dear boy … absolutely first class!” Marcus said, approvingly. “But, bearing in mind we’re putting on a Christmas variety show, do you think we could make a slight change to your suggestion and perhaps call it, “It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble’? Do you think that might be even more appropriate?”
Everyone did, so ‘It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble’ it became. The very title Marcus had entered into his diary weeks ago!
Following the pattern long-established with the pantomime, the first performance was to be on Christmas Eve, the next on Boxing Day and the third the day after. At the beginning of December, posters appeared in the village shop and other strategic places throughout the village proclaiming:
The Little Dribble Players present
‘It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble’
A Grand Variety show for the Festive Season
Bring your family and bring your friends
And so, throughout December, ‘The Players’ met three times a week in the village hall for rehearsals, Marcus directing proceedings with his usual aplomb:
“No, no, my dears! More oomph! More oomph! You need more oomph!”
“Very nice, Minnie, but not quite so loud, my love … not quite so loud. A tad more pianissimo next time, perhaps?”
“Higher! Higher! Get those legs up higher! It’s meant to be a cancan, not a can’t can’t!”
And so on.
Before they knew it, Christmas Eve was here. It had been a stroke of genius on Marcus’s part to invite children from the village school to audition for parts in the show. Not only were their renditions of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus’ a delightful way to begin the show, but the mums and dads who came to see their children perform ensured a full house.
After the children had done their part, ‘The Players’ took to the stage and, for once, everything went swimmingly. The dancing, the singing, the sketches … all with a Christmas theme … being greeted with warm applause from the audience. ‘Oomph’ was there in abundance; Minnie remembered her pianissimo; and, in the cancan, legs reached the required height … well, more or less. What was more, none of the disasters of recent pantomimes occurred. In short, ‘It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble’ was proving to be everything that Marcus Goodfellow had predicted it would be.
But, in true show business tradition, Marcus had decided before rehearsals began to save the best till last with the entire ensemble on stage for the grand finale. A great deal of preparation would be needed to achieve what he had in mind but it would be worth it. This would be something Little Dribble would never forget.
Under Marcus’s direction, Betty Brown, their pianist, had somehow managed to put music to the line, ‘It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble and’ … then a dramatic pause and straight into ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’. Percy Small was then called upon to make a sledge for Father Christmas, complete with four small wheels.
And then the piè ce de ré sistance! The audience wouldn’t believe it. It would bring the house down. Bessie Green had been only too pleased to lend her pony ‘Christabel’ for the three performances and it was apparent to all that the good-natured creature was chuffed to bits to be transformed into a reindeer. Complete with a brown coat, a magnificent set of antlers made by Percy and, last but not least, an enormous red nose, Christabel became Rudolph. A sledge pulled by a reindeer! Undoubtedly the most ambitious project ‘The Players’ had ever undertaken.
And so the moment for the Grand Finale arrived. Giving it all they’d got, the entire cast launched into song. ‘It’s Snow Time in Little Dribble and’ … dramatic pause … ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’. The audience gasped with wonder and disbelief then broke into spontaneous applause as, in his sledge, Father Christmas, (a role Marcus had reserved for himself), was pulled onto the stage by a real reindeer.
Hearing such enthusiastic applause, beneath his bushy white beard, Marcus positively glowed with pride. He knew that he’d achieved nothing less than a triumph. A triumph that would be remembered in Little Dribble for years to come.
And then it happened!
Whether it was a case of first-night nerves or sheer misfortune is a matter for speculation but, right in the centre of the stage, nature got the better of Christabel. Marcus never suffered from first-night nerves so it must have been sheer misfortune that, when alighting from the sledge, he stepped right into what Christabel had deposited. With a certain grace, he went sliding across the stage, his beard going in one direction, his sack of toys in another and half of the front row of the chorus ending up on their posteriors as he careered into them.
Not only did the pony’s misdemeanour bring Father Christmas down with a bump it also brought the house down with uncontrollable and uproarious laughter, shouts of ‘encore’ resounding around the hall. This was, indeed, an evening that would be remembered in Little Dribble for years to come.
Outside the village hall the first flakes of snow began to fall.
Writing together is just icing on the cake for crime authors!
The D.I. Dylan series of books by RC Bridgestock (Husband and wife writing team, Bob and Carol Bridgestock) comes from a unique perspective of a collective real life experience of high level policing of 47 years. As a career detective Bob Bridgestock worked in the CID at every rank. For over half of his service he was a senior detective, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent of the West Yorkshire Police force.
As a Senior Investigative Officer (SIO) in charge of homicide cases he took command of some twenty-six murder investigations, twenty-three major incidents including shootings and attempted murders and over fifty suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults, some of which were extremely high profile in his last three years alone. He was also a Hostage Negotiator and worked in Detective Training at the world renowned West Yorkshire Police Training School for four years as a DI.
Bob brings this unique insight and experience from how real life cases are conducted into page turning gripping fiction, aided by his wife Carol, who has 17 years working within the force. Carol brings her understanding and the experience of a partner of a frontline detective to the D.I. Dylan series. This combination adds authenticity rarely seen in British crime fiction, coupled with warmth, humour and humanity.
The books offer an insight into the real world of British policing mixed with cunning plots and human relationships. This adds a dimension to police procedural fiction which is truly genuine in voice and substance.
‘Bob writes the police procedural from start to finish showing how real crime is investigated. From the moment the body is discovered you travel with him as it really is, but in a fictional tale,’ said Carol. ‘I then pick up that plot and bring to life the characters. I draw out his real feelings stripping away the mask of the detective to unveil real raw reality expressed through DI Dylan. Once these characters live and breathe, I set the scene and add the home life of Dylan and Jen, with all the ups and downs being married to a dedicated professional member of the uniformed services entails.’
‘At first it was difficult to drop the ‘mask’ and reveal my real feelings but Carol said it would be cathartic after all the sights I had witnessed over the years. Of course I said that was rubbish and it was my job. But talking it through and unveiling my ‘crutches’ to myself I now have to agree. It’s awful when you have to admit the wife is right isn’t it?’ J
Carol & Bob Bridgestock
Authors DI Dylan series
Published by Caffeine Nights Publishers
Consultants to Red Productions, Media City, Manchester
ITV1 Scott & Bailey series 4
BBC1 Happy Valley (New kidnap 6 x 60 min series for 2014)
Publishers Caffeine Nights Publishing
How do you start to write a novel? We get this question asked so many times… Well for those and others who would like insight, this blog is about how ‘Snow Kills’ the fourth DI Dylan novel came to be …
Samantha our youngest daughter got stuck in her car one night coming home from work. The snow that fell that day was recorded to be one of the heaviest the, Isle of Wight had seen for many years and due to the velocity and speed that it fell, coupled with the drop in temperature, the disruption to ‘Island life as we know it’ lasted over a week.
Tom & Sam Farren
Once gridlock occurred along the main road from Ryde to Newport the mobile gritter units could not get through.
Anyone who knows the Island is aware of its road structure and therefore you can imagine that everyone stuck to the main routes. These roads were kept open as long as the mobile gritter units could get through, but eventually it was a foregone conclusion that gridlock occurred. Sam was stuck for hours in the dark, not knowing what to do and she became increasingly more frightened as panic set in. She feared accepting drinks off strangers as the night drew in and the roads became deserted.
As with all our storylines this portrays an element of truth by the storyteller but also how the investigation would go should it turn out to involve a crime…
The next inspirational moment came as I had my hair cut by my lovely hairdresser Kayleigh Harwood at Envy Hair & Beauty.
Chatting as we women do Kayleigh became ‘the hairdresser’, her Mum Kim became the fictional Kayleigh’s Mum,
and customers Claire (Rose) & Stuart Viney joined in to become other fictional characters we already had in mind, or that would be part of a missing person/murder investigation.
Claire Rose (Press Officer), Bob, Kayleigh Harwood (Hairdresser) Carol, Stuart Viney (SOCO officer) & Kim Harwood, Kayleigh’s mum.
Unbeknown to us Marlene on the left is Kim Harwoods mum and her name is the characters name of the person who owns the hairdressing shop… spooky!!!
Envy Hair & Beauty a crime scene…
Laura, Bob, Carol, Chloe, Kim, Hayley, Kayleigh & Izzy
Envy Hair & Beauty staff
Bob and I set off on a book launch and speaking to our DI Dylan readers at Waterstones events Andy Wormald became our inspiration for a DC in the office as did Simon Clegg the PS in charge of our uniformed police operations team.
Bob, Andy Wormald, Carol, Simon Clegg & son Nathaniel
A raffle in Waterstones Kingsgate, Huddersfield resulted in Fearne Robinson winning a prize to be a named character in the book and in Waterstones Isle of Wight Carey Megicks also won the privilege.
At Waterstones in Sheffield we got talking to Daniel Jones who was training to be a Pathologist so he became our named character Pathologist in Snow Kills much to his delight!
In Waterstones Bradford Woolshops at the Consequences book signing we had the pleasure of meeting an avid crime fiction fan, 86 year old Mavis Beanland. Mavis had always wanted to be a Miss Marple’s and although we couldn’t quite get her there but she has an elementary part in this book.
A couple more named characters are Louisa Edwards (SOCO officer) who has followed us since we did a talk at her school, Christ The King College in Carisbrooke four years ago & Maggie Jones who is in our writing group.
With Louisa Edwards
Bob, Kim, Maggie Jones, Claire, Stuart, Carol
Maisy Murphy (aka Maisy Dylan)
Bob with Liz, Virginia Mason (Editor Harrowfield Times), Carol, Mel, Hannah
Carol, Bob, Yvonne Best, Lyn Perfect (our Perfect & Best Solicitors)
& last but not least Janet (Hugo-Watkins secretary and Dorothy Duties Clerk) with Carol & Bella at WHS in Halifax
All our characters now in place meant that we could start.
Bob writes the police story from start to finish, with the ‘mask of the detective’ firmly in place. He writes it as it is drawing upon his own thoughts and feelings as a SIO incharge of these complex investigations. In Snow Kills as in all the DI Dylan novels you go with him, looking over his shoulder, throughout the investigation. You will visit the scene, the family, to the mortuary for example and feel his tension, frustration and his passion to catch the perpetrator. Once caught you will even be in the interview to hear the lies and cheer DI Dylan on to bring the murderer to justice – sometimes knowing more than he does. How does an investigator, keep their hands off a killer such as in this case, he is often asked. His answer is with great difficulty, but knowing that if he loses control with the offender the offender wins.
It is the senior detectives place to pull together all the information/evidence so he/she can to put the offender behind bars for a very long time. There is nothing you can do, as an officer on a murder case, for the victim other than give their family support and bring the perpetrator to justice. Hopefully giving some ‘closure’ for the family.
Once Bob has written his part my work begins and I build the scenes from Bob’s memories that I draw from him. Each time this is becoming a little easier as he lets his ‘mask’ fall and opens up to me. Hopefully you can see this in my writing too. I give the victim and the characters an identity – often changing characters names that Bob has given them, much to his annoyance J I also write Jen’s/the home life thread and hopefully now everyone is comfortable with Dylan & Jen and not taking anything away from the crime story we are now learning more about their respective past that have made the characters evolve as they have…
So the book is written.
The next point of call is to ensure that all police procedure is correct and computer systems used at that time. Gemma our daughter still works for the police organised crime unit.
Then it goes to our publishers Caffeine Nights Publishing and onto the eagle eye of Sandra Mangan our proof reader on this and many more we hope Sandra!
The rest as they say is history and I refer you to the launch tour of Snow Kills in West Yorkshire where we were featured on BBC 1, ITV 1, Radio, shared a stage with X Factor winner Joe McElderry and visited Media City in Manchester where we went to a read through for ‘Happy Valley’ a new police series that we are storyline consultants and police advisors on for Spring 2014 … http://blog.rcbridgestock.com/?p=2021
A great time was had by all at the recent opening of Envy Hair & Beauty in Newport, Isle of Wight and a party to celebrate the launch of ‘Snow Kills’ too!
Till the next book!
Carol & Bob xx
Authors DI Dylan series
Consultants to Red ProductionsMedia CityManchester
ITV1 Scott & Bailey series 4
BBC1 Happy Valley (New kidnap 6 x 60 min series for 2014)
- 'Consequences tour April 2012
- 'Consequences tour August 2012
- Bob's Rants etc.
- Coping Strategies – A collection of short stories by Hugh Harrison
- FREE Short Stories from 'The Wight Fair Writers Circle Members'
- Interviews with our friends!
- Life Coaching Tips – 'Life Happens' by Maggie Currie
- Literary Festivals and Events!
- Poetry 'Read's Rambling' by Janet Read
- Press Releases
- Snow Kills Tour November 2013
- The Guinea Pig Children's Stories written and illustrated by Caroline Whittle
- The purpose of … in a police enquiry…
- Top Tips for Writers!
- Top Tips to keep you Safe & Sound
- Welcome to our blog
- White Lilies Tour 2013