The Iris Woodmore Mysteries are set in north east Hampshire, where I live, and inspired by real-life events in 1920s Britain.Below, I take you on a brief tour of some of the Hampshire locations featured in Death at Crookham Hall.
Crookham Hall, the ancestral home of Lord Tobias Timpson, is based on Dogmersfield House, a typical Georgian country house with additional wings added later to form a three-sided courtyard.
Originally a palace stood on the site, and it was where Henry VIII met his future wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Dogmersfield Park encompasses parkland, farmland, and woodland – and the Basingstoke Canal follows a looping course around two-thirds of the estate.
Iris walks along the canal path from Walden (Fleet) to the Moffats' farmhouse and then onto the Crookham estate.
Blacksmith’s Bridge, built in 1792, sits over the Basingstoke Canal and plays a prominent role in the novel.
On one side of the bridge is the poverty and squalor of the shacks that have sprung up on the grounds of the Moffats' farmhouse. On the other side of the bridge is the wealth and grandeur of the Crookham estate.
The bridge provides the link between these two worlds. Rather than the stylised world of the flapper girl, I wanted to explore the social inequalities of the time.
Iris's hometown of Walden is based on the town of Fleet in Hampshire, which once included the parishes of Church Crookham, Crookham Village and Dogmersfield.
Iris works for The Walden Herald, and the newspaper's offices and Laffaye Printworks are situated on Queens Road (actually Kings Road off Fleet Road).
Iris's boss, Elijah Whittle, lives in a cottage on Church Road, and Labour MP Donald Anstey has a house further up the road passed the church.
Fleet Pond, Hampshire
Fleet Pond, the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire, is the inspiration for Waldenmere Lake.
Fleet Pond is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to a diverse range of species thanks to its varied habitats. Fleet Pond Nature Reserve encompasses heathland, marshland, woodland, reedbeds, and, of course, the lake.
I believe the above photograph was taken at the Kenilworth Viewpoint at Fleet Pond. The date of the photo is unknown, but the lady's clothing would suggest the 1920s.
The Iris Woodmore Mysteries are available in hardback, paperback, ebook and audiobook from Amazon and bookstores.