Author Chris Nickson’s book signing in Waterstones, Chesterfield

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There are several stories which explain how Chesterfield Parish Church’s famous twisted spire came by its unique shape.

There are several stories which explain how Chesterfield Parish Church’s famous twisted spire came by its unique shape.

Some involve virgins and the devil. The least picturesque but most likely suggests that unseasoned wood and a shortage of skilled labour was to blame. That’s the view taken in The Crooked Spire, an intriguing crime novel set in 14th century Chesterfield - and author Chris Nickson adds murder and treachery to the mix.

Chris lived in Dronfield for several years before moving back to his native Leeds, and was always intrigued by the spire and its origins. He researches his historical murder mysteries meticulously, but has previously set them in more recent times.

The 14th century wasn’t big on written records; was The Crooked Spire more difficult to research? “I read about the Black Death, and visited the museum and the church several times. There’s a dose of speculation, though I’ve tried to make it generally historically accurate. But it’s a novel, so I did take one or two liberties,” he said.

Chris will be at Waterstones, Vicar Lane, Chesterfield, signing copies of The Crooked Spire on Saturday, November 23 from 11am, and at Chesterfield Library to talk about the book on Monday, December 9, at 6.30pm.

The Crooked Spire by Chris Nickson is published by The Mystery Press, price £8.99.