89 Manning Place
Ruth Downing meets Jamie Burns, the Chesterfield-born author of a novel set in Victorian London.
Born and bred in Chesterfield, science technician Jamie Burns last year achieved a long-held ambition to publish his first novel. Entitled 89, Manning Place, it is set in Victorian London and follows Detectives Bass and Blackmore as they attempt to restore order on the lawless streets of the capital city.
When asked about the book, this quietly spoken and unassuming man seems to take on the persona of his main character, JB Bass, and it is clear to see the passion and creativity with which the story is written.
An avid reader since an early age, Jamie’s love of the written word first came to the fore as a songwriter and semi-professional musician with blues rock band The Idle Hands. The band released seven albums of originally penned songs and toured extensively from 1992 to 2014.
Jamie and his wife Heather who is also from Chesterfield, married in 1992 and she shares his creative flair. A talented and well respected photographer, Heather is responsible for the stunning cover image of the book, as well as many of the promotional images that accompanied the release of the novel – featuring Peak District Locations.
When asked about the inspiration for the characters of this first novel, Jamie and Heather reveal that, along with friends Tim and Sarah Brown, they have a love of the Steam Punk movement and regularly attend events in full Victorian costume. As the seeds for the story began to germinate, Jamie used the experience of these weekends away and before long the characters of Bass, his wife Connie, and Blackmore and his wife Pandora, quickly began to develop.
Bass and Blackmore met as boys on the streets of London where, after a series of skirmishes with the law, they were arrested and faced with the choice of deportation, prison or the army. The boys chose the army, an environment in which they flourished and went on to become members of the Special Forces. Following their honourable discharge with full military honours, Bass and Blackmore were approached and recruited by the Metropolitan Police and there begins the story.
An engaging and gritty novel, 89 Manning Place will have readers enjoying page after page as the story unfolds and leaves them wondering what is next for Detectives Bass and Blackmore.