Celia Harwood

Celia Harwood, a former lawyer, is now a resident of Buxton, the once thriving spa town, in Derbyshire. She finds history, particularly local history, irresistible. She is also a fan of classic detective fiction. That combination led to the Buxton Spa Murder Mystery Series set in Buxton in the 1920s.

“In 2012, a group of volunteers formed the Buxton Town Team with the aim of regenerating the town’s economy so I decided to write a series of crime novels set in the town as a way of drawing attention to its history and its many attractions. Buxton’s wonderful buildings and its beautiful park provide the perfect setting for the stories.

I chose the 1920s, because Buxton’s economy had been severely affected by the First World War and, like the current Town Team, its civic leaders were looking for ways to attract visitors back to the town. I had already done some research into Buxton’s history so I was able to weave into the novels snippets of history together with actual events which took place in the town in the 1920s.

Some of the characters are based on Buxton residents, past and present, including the main character, Eleanor Harriman. Her fiancé was killed in the War and she now works as a solicitor in her father’s firm, Harriman & Talbot, located on Hall Bank. In the course of her work as a solicitor, she finds herself solving murders.

From 1888, women could graduate with a law degree and could be employed as clerks but, until 1922, were barred from practising as lawyers. I discovered that a Buxton resident was part of that first group of women to be admitted to practise and, during the 1920s, was employed as a solicitor in her father’s firm on Hall Bank. As far as I know, she was not an amateur sleuth.

Since I began the series, many readers have shared with me their memories of Buxton and this has been enjoyable and rewarding.”

Celia Harwood