My Yorkshire weekend –murder mystery writer Frances Brody leaves clues about her love of Filey
PUBLISHED: 07:33 13 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:09 20 February 2013
Murder mystery writer Frances Brody tells of her long-term love affair with Filey
Writing crime novels can be a tricky business. Sometimes I darent take a day off in case I lose the plot. But at the end of a draft or after stint of editing, I need a break and a view of the sea. We live in Leeds, close to the A64, so the Yorkshire coast is no great distance.
One summer many moons ago I worked as shop assistant at Cairncross & Sons, a high class gentlemens outfitters on Belle Vue Street, Filey (they were just beginning to stock flowered shirts). Every sunny morning and the sun always shone I strolled down a leafy lane from The Shack in Primrose Valley along the wide sandy beach into Filey.
The resort has never lost its magic for me, whether its walking on the long promenade following the sculpture trail, admiring the boats on Coble Landing or exploring rocks and pools below the Brigg.
The old fishing quarter is all nooks and crannies, higgledy piggledy yards and houses said to have secret chambers and hollow beams.
Filey was a favourite haunt of Charlotte Bronte and if I squint out the cars on the elegant Crescent, I can imagine her strolling here. Its a place where the very air teems with old stories, just waiting to be reeled in.
The beach is glorious. Even on chill days, I stand and stare out to sea.
Being brought up to sit for hours on damp sand in drizzle, keeping on my cardie of course, Im pretty hardy. It doesnt take much to get me jumping the waves and letting the sea help me swim to shore from where Ive waded to. The secret is to go in quickly and ignore the shrapnel of ice behind your eyes a bit like biting on ice cream. The water deepens gradually and feels very safe, with no great dips or currents.
Ive dug for lugworms in the sand by torch light, gone out on a small fishing boat and not caught a thing. Ive celebrated a friends birthday in the golf club to the tunes of the East Riding Society Syncopators and the Bell Jazz Band, an occasion greatly brightened by the musicians wives parading New Orleans fashion with colourful and highly decorated umbrellas and parasols.
Downcliffe Hotel is a great place for lunch or an evening meal, and Ive enjoyed excellent lunches at Gibbys Caf on Hope Street, prepared by ex-Merchant Navy cook Alan.
No weekend in Filey would be complete without a walk, perhaps along the cliff top paths to Cayton. Or it may be a stroll through the country park, where occasionally one meets hardy souls who are just completing the Cleveland Way.
Cairncross & Sons still trades on Belle Vue Street, now specialising in militaria. Far from losing the plot, I found one there, while visiting George Cairncross, poet and artist. Looking at his family photographs and memorabilia sparked the idea that became
A Medal For Murder.
Frances Brodys latest novel,A Medal For Murder, published by Piatkus at 7.99, is available now.
For more information about her and her work, including her family saga novels under the name Frances McNeil, visit www.frances-brody.com.