Posted by: billpurdue | March 21, 2012

A Story from the North East

The latest offering from Paul Torday, author of the bestselling Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [Phoenix £7.99 978-0753821787], is The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall [W&N £12.99 978-0297863205].. I’ve just finished reading it


ImageEd Hartlepool has been living in France for the last five years for tax reasons, after the death of his father, but now it’s time to return to Hartlepool Hall, the ancestral pile in the North East of England, to try and sort out the finances. Ed has never been very good at taking responsibility for money matters. His family became rich enough to desist from working for a living many years ago as his forebears had made a fortune in the steel industry. So his only talent seems to have been for spending money. The estate has run up large debts and the only way out that Ed can see is to sell up and move out.


On his return to the Hall, Ed finds that a mysterious Lady Alice has moved in. It turns out that Lady Alice was his father’s mistress many years ago. At first Ed finds her presence an annoyance, but gradually he changes his opinion. Ed’s best friend, Annabel at one time had designs on Ed, but since he went abroad, she has taken up with a rich property developer named Geoff. Geoff has designs on Hartlepool Hall and is determined to get his hands on the Hall to turn it into luxury flats.


I didn’t find that this novel had that special spark that made me want to read on, but I did nevertheless. It was only just after half way through that I really got interested. Being a bit of a conservationist I was forming my opinions as to what I hoped would be the outcome, but of course things never turn out the way you expect. Will the hall be saved for the nation? Will Ed and Annabel get together and will the rude and nasty Geoff get his come uppance? You’ll have to read it for yourself. I have to say that although it won’t be my favourite book of the year, I would recommend you read it: get it from the library or wait for the paperback due out in the summer.


Making the most of the bus pass


Being over 60 I have a bus pass which enables me to get free bus travel in England after 9.30 am. I really enjoy using the pass as I can relax whilst someone else does the driving… and it seems that the bus pass has spawned a number of ideas for books. The first one I came across was Bus Pass Britain by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries,[ Bradt £15.99 978-1841623764] a guide to 50 of the nations’ favourite bus journeys.

ImageI’ve also come across Boswell’s Bus Pass [Sandstone Press £17.99 978-1905207626] by Stuart Campbell. The author follows the bus routes which Boswell would have taken to the Western Isles had he delayed his journey by 238 years. This is not just a travel guide, it’s also supposed to be very funny. I haven’t seen the book, but I’ll be looking out for it.


And finally there’s Lands End to John O’Groats with a Bus Pass and a Dog [Authorhouse £13.99 978-1456796754] by Eric Newton. This is the account of the journey taken by the author with his dog Archie : it’s a sort of travel guide too as the route takes in many historic towns and cities. Now strictly speaking it’s not possible to use the bus pass all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats as English bus passes are not valid in Scotland and vice versa: maybe the book explains how the author got around this little problem.



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