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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Ham and Egg Terrace features in Isle of Man novel

Safe House by Chris Ewan

A murder mystery that twists and turns as deftly as the sweeping curves of Marine Drive down near Douglas. Rob Hale, sometime TT racer awakes in hospital after an accident and is clear that, at the time of the accident, he was riding his motorcycle accompanied by a woman. There is, however, no sign of the woman and no evidence she ever existed. Rebecca Lewis arrives to investigate the recent death of his sister, Laura, and at the same time also helps him to piece together the events of the accident. Slowly they bring together the bits of the jigsaw.

The action takes place all over the island, bringing fabulous locations to life, mixing folklore with beautiful descriptions. Travel from Laxey village with the largest waterwheel in the world (still claiming to hold the title);  say hello to the fairies as you pass over the humped bridge to  Ballasalla or risk bad luck...or just meander around the island with Rob and Rebecca as your guides: "following a gentle gradient through the village of Foxdale, where the terraced and whitewashed cottages lined the road before beginning to climb  around South Barrule. Dense, knotted woods flanked the hillside until we gained  ground and a view opened  up across rectangular fields and flowering gorse and purple heather. The end of the valley was dominated by the tree-lined slope of Slieau Whallian, known in Manx folklore as the Witches' Hill. In medieval times, suspected witches had been rolled down its steep incline in spiked barrels. If they were killed, their death proved their innocence. If they survived, they were executed." exerpt from Safe House.

There are plenty of references to the TT Races, a course which spans a 37-mile stretch of road full of bends, hills, bumps, and man-made objects to add the extra challenge. The racers often reach speeds of 200mph. This book captures some of the excitement of the course and the background preparations that go on year round. This novel would be the perfect choice to take with you to read if you are visiting the Isle of Man, as it really transports you to this small island nestling in the Irish Sea. Click on the cover for more information, to buy through TripFiction and available now in paperback in bookshops.

And we at TF are just off for a plate of chips, cheese and gravy, which apparently is a favoured dish on the island (see how informative a novel can be!); Ham and Egg Terrace really does exist in Laxey - the history of the name is for you to discover in the novel; and a few words of Manx we have learned from the book: traa dy liooar (time enough). Enjoy visiting this island and truly, "see a location through an author's eyes"...

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