This post is a follow up to my last article: Update on Progress: Book 3 Pleasures which I wrote, just before embarking on my latest trip to London to revisit some of the places, where the final scenes of ‘Pleasures’ were about to take place. So it’s time to reflect on that journey – in fact, it couldn’t have been better timed. It started at the Grosvenor Hotel near Victoria; the setting for one of the most gripping scenes of the story, in which arch baddie, Perry and the heroine of the story are drawn into a terrifying standoff. A chance for me to enjoy a coffee, as well as photograph the interior – where staff could not have been more helpful, in explaining a little about the decor throughout the years. Next stop was Holborn, location of Eleanor’s solicitor John Sharp. From Book 1 ‘Beginnings’ I have made numerous mention of an ‘expanse of tall white office blocks… blue sky, streaked with plumes of white cloud, brightly reflected in the mirrored panes of hundreds of windows.’ Luckily, it was a beautiful day with an abundance of blue sky. I photographed a number of white office blocks – where this smart example of 60s/70s architecture seemed perfect.
After a good walk around Holborn, I finally ended up in St Paul’s – taking careful note of the escalators and tube stations, which pop up in various chapters; such as an episode where Perry is actually tailing Eleanor, on one of her ‘secret trips.’
I was heading for the Old Bailey, yet stumbled across the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square – a lucky co-incidence, which I wasn’t expecting, since this is the work place of Ben, Perry’s evil son. I also discovered that in 1990, it was damaged by an IRA bomb – it all fits in very neatly with the location, the story and the era! Finally, I found myself facing the Old Bailey itself, location for the last dramatic court case before the end of Book 3 ‘Pleasures.’ It has been the inspiration behind much of the writing I have done in the last week, where more photos allowed me to capture its stunning facade:
‘Eleanor stole a final glance at the imposing archway where a cast iron grill protected the entrance. An Ionic column towered above – a cloaked statue crouching between the two, which reminded her of the Grim Reaper and as her eyes travelled upwards, she could clearly read the motto. ‘Defend the Children of the Poor and Punish the Wrongdoer.’
Yet its beauty no way compensates for the atmosphere you feel inside. This is after all, London’s most notorious Criminal Court. ‘The building may have appeared outwardly striking – the intricate, classic architecture, a feast for Charlie’s eyes; yet the atmosphere inside felt dark and ominous.’
I observed 3 cases, including manslaughter, drug trafficking and ABH, with some disturbing content, not to mention a sense of menace in the public gallery – which has been the inspiration behind some of my recent story lines: ‘Those walls had veiled some hideous crimes, over the years, she found herself thinking – imagining the passage of evil people, through those same corridors and stairways.’
I am extremely grateful to the staff too, especially the very nice security guard on the 2nd floor, who took me under his wing and warned of the hostile atmosphere. In summary, it was an incredibly absorbing day, which in some ways left me troubled, but definitely put me in the right mindset for creating a convincing ‘Trial’ in the penultimate chapter of ‘Pleasures.’
Same Face Different Face – Book 3 ‘Pleasures’ will be published in 2015, with a FREE prelaunch sequel, scheduled before Christmas.