The Filey Connection is the book which introduced us to Joe Murray, Sheila Riley, Brenda Jump and the born again teenagers of the Sanford 3rd Age Club.
I self-published it as A Death at the Seaside back in 2010, and followed it up with three more short adventures for Joe and the gang, but it was never planned as a series. Come to that, it didn’t start life as a cosy crime novel. It was intended as the humorous tale of a riotous weekend in Filey for the 50 and 60-somethings from Sanford.
Never on the wilder shores of my imagination did I anticipate running to 14 books, but after Crooked Cat signed it up in 2012, I set to work, and Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #14, Trial by Fire, will be with you by the mid to late summer.
Why Filey? It’s a question I’m occasionally asked, and the answer appears to suggest itself. “It’s an old peoples’ resort”.
Nonsense. Filey is anything but ageist or boring. In fact, it’s a pretty little seaside town on the North Yorkshire coast between Scarborough and Bridlington, and it’s ideal for families, young and old. The waters of the bay near the town are safe for swimming, the beach is clean and for those who are of a more adventurous nature, a low-tide walk along Filey Brigg, a natural spur jutting out into the north Sea and forming a breakwater for the bay, will provide plenty of rock pools to keep the most inquisitive minds happy for hours.
Scarborough, Bridlington, Whitby, Hull and York are all within easy reach if you fancy a day out, and the town itself boasts plenty of fine shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars.
Billy Butlin was setting up his third holiday camp just outside Filey in 1939, when the war intervened. It finally opened to holidaymakers in 1945, and I actually worked there for two seasons. Not as a Redcoat, but as part of the general support services.
I also met my wife in while I was working at that holiday camp. Now do you see why I chose Filey as the location for a murder mystery?
Here is Joe’s view of Filey. In this brief extract, Joe, Sheila and Brenda have learned of the deaths of not one but two Sanford 3rd Age Club members in the space of 48 hours, and Joe is convinced they’re linked, but he doesn’t yet know how. Seeking inspiration, he gazes out over the bay.
He stared out across Filey Bay stretching from Speeton Point a few miles to the south to Carr Naze and the Brigg a mile or so north of them. Carr Naze jutted out half a mile, a low hill, dropping off sharply at the seaward end where it became the Brigg and continued for several hundred more yards barely scratching the surface of the sea. At the landward end, the bay waters were flat, mirror calm, but beyond the Brigg, the sea splashed and frothed over the projecting rocks, and anglers could be seen perched among the rock pools waiting patiently for that tell-tale waggle of the float to signal a bite.
The fine, sandy beach was busy with families, children building sandcastles, chasing Frisbees, paddling in the safe shallow waters. Along the smart promenade, groups of people made their way slowly along in the baking sun, and out to sea a fishing coble plodded towards the bay, bobbing on the slight swell.
Does the near-idyllic view help him twig The Filey Connection? Sorry, but you’ll have to read the book to find out.
The Filey Connection, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #1, is published by Crooked cat and available both as a paperback and in all e-formats.
Amazon UK (Kindle and paperback)