Back To The Beginning
Last week, I found myself on Hanbury Street. I've written before about visiting or stumbling across locations from the Bowman Of The Yard series whilst in London, but this one felt like a punch to the stomach. If you've read any of the books, you'll know why. I think it's fair to say that Hanbury Street, in London's East End, is the location of a pretty defining moment in George Bowman's life and in the book series as a whole. Indeed, what happened here one May day in 1891 sets Bowman's story (at least, the story we're following at the moment) on its inexorable course.
The area has changed a lot, of course. Demolition, gentrification and the bombs of World War 2 have seen to that. I think the Women's Refuge that features so heavily in Bowman's story is long gone - replaced by a swanky business centre - but, amongst the modern glass and fabricated concrete, I was delighted to find Hanbury Hall. As the sign outside attests, this building was almost certainly standing in the time the Bowman Of The Yard series is set. In the fiction of the books, those windows would have stared out at the grisly events that occurred on Hanbury Street that morning. Being a church hall it was no doubt in constant use. Did its patrons crowd on the doorstep to view proceedings, aghast at the horror of it all? Did they notice a lean, moustached inspector rushing forward to save his wife from certain death?
We can but imagine. Either way, its always nice to stumble across a bit of Bowman's history among the streets of London.
If you have yet to join the investigation, Bowman's story begins with the first novel, The Head In the Ice and continues through the short stories The Smithfield Murder and The Workhouse Poisoning to the second novel, The Devil In The Dock. Two more short stories follow, The Hampstead Garrotting and The Holborn Strangler. All the short stories are free to subscribers to my newsletter. The third novel in the series, The Body In The Trees, is now available with another short story to follow!