I'm so pleased to welcome Middle Grade author, Fleur Hitchcock onto the blog today, to tell us all about the settings in her latest book, Murder in Midwinter, which was recently published by Nosy Crow. Keep a look out for a review of the book, coming very soon!
Setting the scene...
At the heart of Murder in Midwinter, is Maya, a London girl, a girl who knows and walks the streets just south of the river, around the Southbank and Borough and just to the east of Waterloo. It’s an area I know well, my niece, Ruby, and her family live there – here’s a lino cut Ruby did of the block of Corporation of London flats that they live in.
I didn’t actually use these flats, not completely, because I wanted Maya’s family to live over the plumbing supplies shop that they run. That was an amalgamation of a decorator’s shop near Southwark street and Pimlico Plumbers who have a huge sign on the railway line as you approach Waterloo station.
But what I really used was the Thames, at night in the winter. It’s stunning, all purple and green lights, monumental architecture and silhouettes and reflections – and at one point Maya and her sister Zahra are sitting watching the streams of tourists passing the Globe theatre and Zahra says: “God. London’s beautiful.” She’s speaking for me at that point, because I love to sit on those Thames side benches in the twilight just looking.
And when Maya needs to flee, I had to find somewhere that was the absolute opposite. Somewhere with no lights, no architecture, nothing.
A snowy mountain in Wales.
I have to confess that although I’ve lived in Wales, I’ve never lived in the mountains, I’ve only visited them in the winter, not in the snow, but I have lived in the countryside most of my life and a couple of years back we had some very severe winters, so I used what I remembered of those.
And finally there were the horses. I was a horse kid, but never a very able horse kid, but I do remember one particular pony, black, mean, standing in the snow, biting my best friend on the bum. I used that pony. 100%.
Is that a setting?
I think so.
Sadly, I have no photos of him. I never thought I’d need it.
Sat on the top of a bus days before Christmas, Maya sees a couple arguing violently in the middle of a crowded Regent Street. They see her watching, she looks away, and the woman disappears. Maya goes to the police, who shrug and send her away. Then a body turns up… Now convinced she is a vital witness to a crime, the police send Maya into hiding in rural Wales. She resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery. Then the snow comes and no one can get out. But what if someone can still get in?
Published by Nosy Crow in October 2017
To find out more about Fleur Hitchcock: