Ex-Bridlington teacher publishes second ‘whodunit’ style novel inspired by teaching and set in the town
The second title in his 'Great School Detective' series is set for release this month.
‘The Case of the Abominable Snowball’ is the second title in ‘the Great School Detective’ series by Chris Martin. The series, aimed at readers aged from eight to 13, is based around an enigmatic schoolboy sleuth called ‘Inky Stevens’.
In Inky’s latest outing is the sabotage of a vital Maths exam, coupled with a mis-thrown snowball which results in a teacher being hospitalised, launches the young detective on a quest for answers. Yet what starts off as a school matter rapidly becomes a desperate fight for survival with the very future of Inky’s hometown, ‘Blinkton-on-Sea’, hanging in the balance.
Mr Martin said: “I think as a teacher you are always lookin for that ‘ultimate novel’ in the classroom and as an English teacher I have presented a number of set texts- some of which were a little lacklustre.
“I remember thinking ‘I am sure I could do better than that’ - especially because I could use my experience as a teacher to craft something that I know that youngsters would enjoy.
“There came a point after I left teaching where I thought well I want to be a writer, but what do I write about?
“It is that old phrase- write about what you know- I like writing murder mysteries and the cat and mouse game of the reader trying to solve it before you actually reveal it at the end.”
During his 22-years teaching, Mr Martin wrote a murder mystery play for Bridlington School's centenary celebrations in 1999 and this began a lifelong passion for creating ‘whodunit’ fiction.
Self-publishing through www.murderplays.com, Mr Martin developed a 'murder mystery play event business' which now boasts over 25 titles which sell worldwide. Buoyed by their success, and using Bridlington as inspiration, he diversified into writing fiction for young adults and secured a publishing deal with Hogs Back Books in 2017.
“I have been a teacher for over two decades, I know schools inside and out, so I thought wouldn’t it be brilliant to combine them and create a schoolboy detective who goes undercover to solve mysteries- and that is where the idea of Inky Stevens came from.
“The setting of the book is very British and while I don’t stipulate a place- Bridlington is my inspiration.
“Having lived in Bridlington, which I have a huge fondness for, I was inspired to loosely base my rugged, coastal setting on the atmospheric town.
“When I finally secured a publishing deal I was euphoric at thinking I had made it, that there was someone to back me.
“It is still early days and I am just hoping that Inky finds his voice, finds his audience, and then hopefully popularity will grow from there.
‘Abominable Snowball’ is the follow up to ‘Inky Stevens: The Case of the Caretaker’s Keys’ published by Hogs Back Books in 2020.
Jamie Foster, an old Bridlington student of Mr Martin’s who is now a teacher himself, has written a free 60 page/72 lesson idea ‘scheme of work’ to accompany the novel. This is now available on request from Chris Martin’s website.
Visit www.chrismartinwriter.com to purchase Mr Martin’s new book or to find out more.