After a Book Breather I Want Something Seaside Specific, Can You Help?

Whilst normally a three day weekend would mean non stop reading, the Bank Holiday has only seen me read two novellas. I needed a bit of a reading break I think. I have read some brilliant, brilliant books lately (reviews coming soon) and sometimes after all that excitement I have to stop. I needed to clear my fictional head and today my head was officially cleared (after I extended my break) by the bracing sea as I went to Southport which looked suitably brooding…


It was a random day out, though apt as its part of my heritage as Granny Savidge Reads is from Southport, but a delightful one. Not only did it clear my head and involve lots of laughing with my Aunty and her two year old twins (meaning I couldn’t read on the train, unheard of) it also inspired me as to something I might want to read next. I want either a crime novel set in a seaside town, some gritty seaside drama or a really creepy story set in a seaside town preferably with a Victorian feel (I’ve done Dracula). I’d like a pier in there somewhere if possible.

So is there anything you’d recommend? Please help, I have a reading craving!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

37 responses to “After a Book Breather I Want Something Seaside Specific, Can You Help?

  1. The Woman Before Me is set in a seaside town. With a pier. It is a crime novel of the darkest hue. And I think Legend Press already sent you a copy? x

  2. Have you ever read ‘The Sea the Sea’ by Iris Murdoch? It’s not exactly sea-side happy, (it’s a dark, quasi-gothic tale of repressed sexuality, lonliness, age and unrequited love), but it’s fantastically vertiginous, with a plot as unrelentingly dark and strange as the relentless waveforms that form the book’s setting. Almost as if you can hear the sea as a permanent echo to the novel’s scenes. Lots of references to myths and magic and (as in the case with all ‘sea’ novels) ideas of the infinite and unknowable.

    • I havent read ‘The Sea, The Sea’ but I think I have it. The only Iris Murdoch book I have read is ‘The Bell’ and I have always said I read another and shouldnt. I like a dark quais-gothic tale too so I shall have to dig this one out. Thanks Tomcat, as ever.

    • Rita

      The West Pier by Patrick Hamilton is the first volume in a trilogy about an amoral but charismatic con man and the damage he can inflict. Graham Greene called it the best novel written about Brighton. William Trevor’s book The Children of Dynmouth also has a sinister protaganist, who happens to be a 15 year old psycopath. Both novels very unsettling.

  3. Caedamon’s Song by Peter Robinson is set in Whitby for the most part (a stand-alone crime fiction which I really enjoyed). If you want Victorian, then Elizabeth Gaskell’s Sylvia’s Daughters is set in a town called Monkshaven and it modelled on Whitby (I haven’t read this yet thought). And I absolutely INSIST that you read Elly Griffiths crime fiction series, starting with The Crossing Places – set on the salt marshes in Norfolok and wonderfully brooding and bleak!

    • Oooh I might try and hunt that out for when I go to Whitby later in the year for a special something. That could be great to read whilst there. I have the first Elly Griffiths and you are right, I should have read that by now.

  4. I was going to suggest The Sea, The Sea! Definitely creepy. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene is gritty crime stuff. Now I’m drawing a blank. If you’ve a knowledgeable bookseller with a good mystery section, I bet they’ll be able to name a few mysteries for you off the top of their head.

    • Well seconding ‘The Sea, The Sea’ is only a good thing as far as I am concerned CB. I have done ‘Brighton Rock’ and liked it, didnt love it, but quite liked it. I want to see the film with the wonderful Helen Mirren in it.

  5. lilliesleaf

    Perhaps Brighton Rock by Graham Greene?

  6. Louise

    I was also going to say, Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths… I’m not hugely into sea/boat reads but this I loved, I’ll be looking up The Sea, The Sea though 😉

  7. Pamreader

    Have a look at The Devil’s Music by Jane Rusbridge…

  8. They may not be quite what you’re looking for, but I can suggest The Juggler by Sebastian Beaumont (strange goings-on in Brighton out-of-season) and Everything I Found on the Beach by Cynan Jones (gritty stuff, set on the Welsh coast).

    • gaskella

      I’d second the Juggler – brilliant!

    • Oooh ovely David, two books that I have never heard of, I love it when people recommend those. Am off to find out more about both of them…

      Cynan Jones looks spooky from the cover. I am not sure about the clown on the cover of The Juggler, I dont really like clowns.

  9. Eva

    I’m sure you’ve already thought of Jamaica Inn, but it’s the only thing that popped into my head. Also, one of the Hamish mysteries is set on a cold Scottish island: Death of a Snob. I know you enjoy the Agatha Raisin books, so perhaps you’d like it?

    • It’s weird Eva, I love Agatha but I don’t really like Hamish. Isnt that odd? Good suggestion though. I am wondering if Daphers might have another novel, I read and very much liked Jamaica Inn, by the sea I would love. I must investigate, though with Discovering Daphne so near, maybe I should hold off.

  10. Eva

    Forgot to subscribe to comments: I want to see what other people suggest!

  11. This is How by MJ Hyland and King of the Badgers by P Hensher are both set in seaside towns. Both show the darker side of life in a UK seaside town out of season. I’m afraid they are modern, not Victorian, but they have the creepiness you’re craving.

    • King of the Badgers I have read, but not yet written about. It doesnt quite fit the bill though yes shows the darker side. Its a brilliant and strange book that one.

      This is How is a book I must read I have heard so much about it, have it, just havent read it.

  12. Have you read Beside the Sea by Veronique Olmi? I have a feeling you have…

  13. How about Master & Commander or any other Aubrey/Maturin books? More sea than seaside, but still very good.

  14. To be honest, I can’t think of anything particularly seaside-based that is also gritty. But I would recommend re-reading Dracula if you ever travel to Whitby, if only to see the route that Mina takes to the Abbey there which proves that she must be related to Wonder Woman or something.

    • I am off to Whitby in the autumn and think that, and the Peter Robinson that Boof suggested, will have to go with me.

      Your wonder woman comparison has made me laugh and laugh. I know the scene you mean.

  15. I think you’ve read all the ones that I can think of (Jamaica Inn, Beside The Sea, Brighton Rock(?)). Brixton Beach has some lovely sea descriptions but more of the stormy tropical variety and I didn’t love the book overall. Helpful I know!

  16. Try Peter James. Series of crime thrillers set in Brighton. They are very good and hugely readable.

  17. Well…Caribou Island by David Vann is set in Alaska but is extremely depressing…but good.

  18. Yes, I have definately read that one. i thought it was very good, if a little bit like Legends of a suicide.

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