Liverpool is an interesting city which has been a borough since early in the 13th century. As is well known, it is a port city with all the rough and tumble that is expected of a port city, but rougher and many more tumbles and rumbles than even the toughest could imagine!
One reason for its reputation as being really tough is that its trade foundation was in the slave trade. Nowadays not something to be proud of but at the time a valuable cargo that made a lot of local fortunes.
Now working on the docks was for ‘hard’ men who drank a lot, swore a lot, and got into lots of fights. Unfortunately, the reputation seems to have carried on in many people’s behaviour despite the lack of shipping nowadays. This can attributed to two things really – the collapse of the shipping trade has left Liverpool very depressed with little industry and work and thus a great many unemployed with little to do; and also the large population of Irish immigrants who were drawn there by either the Civil War forced de-population of Northern Ireland and replacement with Protestants, or the Irish famines which led many to emigrate to America. However, some of the intended emigrants stayed put rather than take ship from Liverpool. The Irish immigrants are well known here in Kilburn and Cricklewood where they also came, as being hard drinkers and hard fighters so they will have had similar traits we must assume in Liverpool. If you think I am wrong then please let me know.
This book: Fear No Evil by Debbie Johnson is set in Liverpool with the impact of the slave trade being demonstrated by the fine buildings that were put up at that time – and the not so fine, but ugly by modern standards that all demonstrated wealth and privilege for the architects and owners. Unfortunately, according to this book, some of the ‘interesting’ ideas that were around at the time of the Slave Trade included a fascination with devil worship and other similar ideas – see the HellFire Caves in High Wycombe for a variant on this – or an excuse to drink a lot and hold orgies. Here the rather nasty ideas included child sacrifice and the subsequent ghosts and ghoulies.
The protagonist here is a feisty female ex-police now private investigator with a potty mouth and a good line in sarcasm and a very good knowledge of the Liverpool underworld. Now she is the type of heroine that I really like. Self-sufficient and ready to take on the world. We need more of her and I really enjoyed this book. One good thing was that the author knows the city well having lived and worked there and has a very sense of writing in a concise and attention grabbing way – no doubt her newspaper background helps here. I found it difficult to put down. I really recommend this book