28 May 2018

Guestpost: Growing Up in the Lake District

Deep Fear by Rachel Lynch is the second DI Kelly Porter book set in the breathtaking Lake District. The setting is just as atmospheric as the story itself, and lends itself to a thrilling read, so I am pleased to have the author posting a bit about growing up in the Lake District.

Deep Fear by Rachel LynchAdd to Goodreads
DI Kelly Porter is back. 

But will this new case push her beyond her limits?

On a peaceful summer's morning in the Lake District, a woman's body is discovered outside a church. She's been murdered and a brutal, symbolic act performed on her corpse. 

DI Kelly Porter is in charge of the team investigating the crime, and is determined to bring the killer to justice. But as more deaths occur it is clear this is the work of a disturbed, dangerous and determined individual. Can Kelly put the puzzle pieces together before the danger comes closer to home? 


Growing Up in the Lake District

By Rachel Lynch

Fans of the Kelly Porter series know how important the setting is to these books. The Lake District is one of Britain’s last wildernesses and its dramatic scenery draws in close to sixteen million visitors every year. Having won UNESCO World Heritage status last summer, the Lake District now takes its place with Macchu Picchu and Iguazu Falls, and for good reason. Modelled by the last ice age and sculpted by grazing sheep, the fells and dales, dotted with deep lakes, create a landscape perfect for a thriller.

At first glance, the sleepy villages and welcoming tea shops give the impression of cosy, wholesome charm, but, lurking beneath the calm exterior lies the unexpected opportunity of hiding places fit for the most sinister dark deeds. The single lane roads, untouched corners, mysterious forests and cold watery depths lend themselves to a parallel world, where criminals can exist in relative peace and literally get away with murder. For Kelly and her team, it’s a backdrop waiting to be exploited and only local knowledge can unpick the threads that lead to the core of underworld activity.

I didn’t think any of these things when I was a child, being dragged up Great Gable, in my 1970s orange waterproofs. Eating soggy sandwiches and sipping cold tea on top of Scafell Pike, wondering what my friends were up to, seemed a word away from the cases Kelly Porter would one day face. But the lure of the fells kept me going back, season after season, even when I moved to London. Despite the whinging and whining to my poor parents; my not wanting to take another step, see another Tarn, climb another summit, browse another pretty gift shop, swim another sub-zero lake or pose for another photograph; now, I thank them.

As the now yearly trip north approaches, I show my children the routes we might take on Wainwright maps, full of wonder and enthusiasm, trying to muster up excitement and divert them from the fact that we’re not going to Mykanos or Ibiza like their friends. But once we get there, pack our hiking kit, pack the sandwiches and head off for our chosen summit, they can’t help but become carried away with the magic of a day’s hike, and what we might find. No screens, no phones, no choking traffic or angry, or busy twenty first century automatons clog our route, and they become real children again.

Without realising, or missing their electronics, for one or two weeks, they simply immerse themselves in the peace and tranquillity of the mountains and lakes, and now I’ve got them hooked. The paths, tarns and summits are just the same as they were thirty years ago, and we do exactly what we did then: buy ice cream, drink water from a fast flowing stream, map read, skim stones and tick off Wainwrights.

A few things have changed: there are new National Trust carparks to cope with the volume of tourists, there are more road signs indicating waterfalls and pools, and there are more hotels and tea shops where there were none. But if you know where to look, you can walk for hours without any of these things. That’s why Kelly had to be a local girl. She went off to London for a spell, to the bright lights of the Met, and made her name rising to the top of vast murder squads in the capital, but her heart is back at home in Cumbria, and that’s where she returns to in Dark Game. Deep Fear sees her face new cases, and it’s her local knowledge that makes all the difference.

The mountains and lakes are part of who Kelly Porter is: they shaped her, and it’s how she relaxes, it’s how she thinks, and it’s how she gets time to clear her head of the sheer horror of her job. We

often find Kelly going for a fell run to unwind, or a hike to chew over a case; as she falls back in love with where she grew up. She also remembers the time she spent with her father, out on the fells, listening and learning, and she questions why she left in the first place. She knows the terrain instinctively, and in Deep Fear, that no-nonsense intuition is what guides her through the investigation to the grisly conclusion.

Of course, the stories are just fiction, but the canvas of the Lake District affords a reality that has enabled me to create an odious underbelly, almost, but not quite, safe from detection. Without my parents press-ganging me into walking for miles on end, in my 1970s orange waterproofs, Kelly Porter would never have been given such loathsome cases to delve into, nor such a staggering countryside in which to investigate them.


2 comments:

  1. The Lake District is such a good setting for a book like this! The miles and miles of quiet and secluded outdoors makes for an eerie story. This is a really well written review and it’s made me keen to read the book for myself. Thank you for sharing <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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  2. I love Mystery Thrillers set in Britain but haven't been reading much of them lately. I'm definitely going to be checking this book out soon. Great review

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