Monday, May 5, 2008

Murderous Marple

Martin Edwards's always fascinating blog, Do you write under your own name?, has recently included a couple of references to the town of Marple in Cheshire (or, more accurately these days, Greater Manchester).  His first post discussed the theory that Agatha Christie's famous detective was named after the town.  Yesterday, he discussed the now largely-forgotten crime writer, Joyce Porter, who was apparently born there.

I've found this interesting since, as it happens, I've lived in Marple for over ten years.  What's more, there's at least one other current crime writer living in the vicinity,  and the writer Edmund Cooper - best remembered as a science fiction writer but author of at least one crime novel - was also born in Marple. 

Given that Marple's a fairly pleasant little place on the edge of the Peak District, with a very limited number of mean streets, I'm not sure how to explain this affinity with crime fiction.  The attraction of opposites, maybe. 



1. Maxine said...

I was born in Manchester (Queen Mary's Hospital was it called? Oxford Road, then), and lived for the first 5 years of my life in Stockport. Not quite Marple-- but not that far away either. So it is nice to read these posts on yours and Martin's blogs, even though my memories are very limited.

2. Michael+Walters said...

It's an intriguing place. It even plays its small part in the history of punk rock, in that the late Anthony Wilson (the first man to put the Sex Pistols on TV) spent his early years here and Bill Grundy (whose career was wrecked by the Sex Pistols on TV) apparently died here. The other day, as I was walking up to one of its canels, I saw Steve Coogan filming a new series. And our small independent cinema (a privilege in itself these days) is currently showing 'In Bruges'.

3. Maxine said...

Sounds more fun than living in Kingston upon Thames, where the filming one sees is either The Bill or Mr Bean.
My daughters were thrilled that Primeval, a TV series they like, was filmed in the local shopping mall and car park, but unfortunately they did not get to see any of the filming live. Actually, perhaps just as well, given all the dinosaurs hiding behind the electrical equipment on sale in John Lewis, etc.

4. Michael+Walters said...

Some years ago, I lived for a while in South Wimbledon in a little network of streets regularly used for filming The Bill. I later saw an episode where a suspect was apparently chased into my old house. But the interior was completely different (and, Tardis-like, much larger than the exterior) which was even more disconcerting... But I like the idea of dinosaurs in John Lewis.

5. Richard Davies said...

I've heard that Agatha Christie had a friend who lived in Marple at one point.

Talking of Steve Coogan, The Day Today featured a spoof horse racing event from Marple, very funny even if the nearest thing you'll find in real life is a Gymkana in Brabyns Park.

6. Michael+Walters said...

Yes, quite right - Alan Partridge reported on 'racing from Marple'. Coogan, playing Tony Wilson, also mentions Marple in passing in the film 'Twenty Four Hour Party People'. I hadn't heard about Agatha Christie's friend, but that's another intriguing link.

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