Saturday, 30 May 2009

Life in the Dock

Six months ago, I had the pleasure of awarding first prize in the Liverpool, Capital of Culture Year, short story competition to Cathy Roberts. We had entries from a wide range of countries, but as luck would have it, the winner lived on the doorstep – actually, in a tugboat, MV France-Hayhurst, currently moored in the Albert Dock.

Circumstances have conspired to prevent Cathy and me from meeting again until now, when I had the chance to visit the boat for coffee and an all too brief chat. Cathy continues to write (her brilliant winning story is being adapted into a play) and is engaged on a wide variety of activities, and she has a marvellous fund of stories about life in the dock world.

Quite apart from the fascination of maritime history and travel around the world under sail, there’s obviously something special about the camaraderie between people who live and sail on boats. Their lifestyles are intriguing. For instance, Cathy introduced me to one neighbour who divides his time between Liverpool in the summer and Egypt in the winter.

The society centred around the boats moored at Albert Dock is a classic ‘closed community’, and even on a sunny day when Liverpool and Albert Dock looked terrific, with many interesting contrasts between the old buildings and the brand new (the still unfinished new museum is in the next-to-bottom photo) I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a fantastic setting for murder, mystery and a classic form detective story…


Dorte H said...

"I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a fantastic setting for murder, mystery and a classic form detective story…"

Crime fiction readers & writers are incorrigible. My first thought was: good crime scene, and Peter Robinson has actually used the idea in Playing with Fire (2004).

Martin Edwards said...

Incorrigibe is right, Dorte!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great photos. I love mysteries set near the water ("Cape Fear," "To Catch a Thief," etc.)

Thanks for sharing.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. There are some very good mysteries set at seaside resorts, which can be very atmospheric out of season.

Paul Beech said...

Yes, murder at the Albert Dock…there’s definitely some grisly appeal in that idea! Hope the cogs are turning furiously, Martin, and you’ll soon be flexing your fingers at the keyboard. Another outing for Harry Devlin, perhaps…‘Devlin’s Dock’?

Of course another nice watery setting for a murder mystery might be the inland waterways – plenty of good atmosphere and history plus a pleasantly offbeat community. Isn’t this a fairly underworked vein? A nice theme for an anthology, perhaps?

Regards, Paul

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Paul. You've read my mind in one respect - I have a canal trip upcoming and this will feature in the blog before long!