Lichfield is the setting for a crime writer’s latest novel.

Stephen Booth

Author Stephen Booth is best known for his Cooper and Fry series which have so far spawned 18 books set in the Peak District.

But his latest title, Drowned Lives, is a departure from his series – and will be set in Lichfield instead.

“I first became fascinated by Lichfield when I was a student in Birmingham many years ago,” Stephen said.

“There seemed to be history on every street corner, from Dr Johnson to the stunning cathedral.

“It was the perfect setting for a story exploring the way the past can affect the present.”

Drowned Lives is a story of buried family secrets and a centuries-old feud.

Set in the 1990s, the story plays out against the background of a canal restoration scheme and delves into hundreds of years of history of the inland waterways and the people who lived and worked on them.

The plot centres on council officer Chris Buckley, who finds his life in danger when he’s forced to confront secrets in his own family’s past.

It features a memorable canal journey from the Red Lion at Hopwas via Whittington, culminating in a scene at the Swan at Fradley Junction.

Other locations include Alrewas, Hints, Chasewater, and the Three Spires Shopping Centre – and even the former Lichfield Library at The Friary makes an appearance. 

Although the abandoned waterway in his novel is the fictional Ogley and Huddlesford Canal, the author acknowledges the inspiration provided by the work of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, of which he’s a member. 

“Canals are an irresistibly atmospheric location for crime fiction,” he said. “They run through miles of countryside, but also penetrate right into the heart of major cities like Birmingham.

“They may look peaceful, but who knows what lies beneath that placid surface?”

Stephen will be launching Drowned Lives at Lichfield Library in the St Mary’s Centre on 5th September with a talk, Q&A and book signing, starting at 7pm.

Tickets are £7, available from the library or on 0300 111 8000. There is also a £5 discount on the book if bought on the night.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.