SHEFFIELD has altered since David Evans first walked into the city’s Orchard Square shopping centre.
In fact, the setting for part of the author’s Yorkshire-based debut crime novel has changed from a pub to become a fashion store.
Trophies contains plenty of Steel City references, particularly via one of its main protagonists, ‘Spud’ Shaw, a former journalist in Doncaster and on The Star in Sheffield. The novel’s complex story springboards from the discovery of a body and a stash of trophies from sexual assaults that have happened over 20 years, including some in our region.
“Originally, I wrote the first draft as a possible solution to who Wearside Jack was,” says David. “At the time, it appeared he could never be found.”
A bit like the Stonehouse when David previously visited Waterstones – last weekend he was at the Orchard Square branch for a book signing.
“I hadn’t been back to Sheffield for some years when I called in,” he says. “Obviously, I looked for the Stonehouse and couldn’t find it. Only then did I discover it had been demolished to make way for the T K Maxx unit. Fortunately for the book, it was still there in 2000.”
In David’s book, Spud meets up with an old Star sports colleague called Jimmy Wilson in the pub.
“The Stonehouse was the first Sheffield pub I ever visited. At the time I was a student in Manchester and playing football.
“When we played Sheffield Uni we discovered we were not welcome at the Uni bar – something to do with a Manchester Uni rugby team some weeks before.
“At the time pubs were only open certain hours. The Stonehouse was an early start at 5pm, so we went there. A pint each, we wandered through the back to the covered-in courtyard area – all chintzy shops.”
While the author touches on the Yorkshire Ripper in Trophies, he says it is just one thread of a book clearly fired by real events.
“Having lived through the appalling Ripper period I remember a number of things which prompted me to write this.
“One was sitting in my mother-in-law’s front room reading, I think, The Observer which had a two-page table of all the attacks attributed to the Ripper.
“It was obvious to me there was something not right with it and the one murder that stood out was Preston. When Sutcliffe was caught he denied any involvement there.
“The other thing was accents. I’m from Edinburgh but my wife is from Wakefield and, having lived in the area for some time, people would think I’m from Yorkshire.
“Remembering the tape, it was obviously read from a prepared script. If I did that I could read it and sound as though I’d never left my birthplace.
“I also remember the Monday lunchtime in Henry Boot’s canteen in Dronfield following a morning of rumour about the capture of the Yorkshire Ripper. Our chief security man was ex-Sheffield CID and he gave us the lowdown on events of the Sunday night.”
Trophies is available from www.feedaread.com, Amazon and all good bookshops. Find out more at www.davidevanswriter.co.uk