The Midsomer work camp

I’m sure all the Midsomer Murders aficionados out there will understand that Inspector Barnaby would lament the demise of this admirable institution on his patch (and rue its subsequent use).

thelearningprofessor

You might realise by now that I enjoy a bit of crime fiction, and that includes a taste for Midsomer Murders, even though it is way past its peak as a more or less gentle mockery of middle class manners. Midsomer doesn’t exist, of course, but its county capital, Cawston, is largely filmed in the Thames Valley market town of Wallingford. And Wallingford, as well as being the fictional home of many a murderous snob with status anxieties, has a history.

walingford

In 1911, the Christian Social Union, effectively the social service arm of the Congregationalist and Presbyterian Churches, purchased a farm near Wallingford for use as a labour colony. The Congregationalists viewed social service as a form of missionary work, a view articulated particularly by the Nottingham minister John Brown Paton, who helped popularise in Britain the ideas of the Lutheran Pastor von Bodelschwingh, who had launched an elaborate system…

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Danger by Association Giveaway

Win a paperback thriller!

Heather Burnside Author

Next month is the last of my giveaways for paperback copies of The Riverhill Trilogy. Big congratulations to those of you who have already won signed copies of Slur and A Gangster’s Grip.

If you didn’t win a copy, don’t worry, you can still be in with a chance of winning a signed, original copy of Danger by Association.

Readers will be notified by newsletter of how to enter the giveaway. To receive my newsletters you will need to sign up to my mailing list by following the link: Heather’s Readers. It’s quick and easy to sign up and means you will also be amongst the first readers to find out about new releases and special offers.

Bye for now and good luck.

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Murderous learning – more reflections on adult education in crime fiction

Can adult education have a sinister side?

thelearningprofessor

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Recently I’ve been enjoying a crime novel by an Irish writer, Tana French. The Trespasser is set in Dublin, and its central character is Antoinette Conway, a hard-boiled murder squad detective of mixed race. The novel is interesting on belonging, family, gender, low-level racism, and internal hierarchies in the police. And it also touches upon adult education.

Aislinn, the murder victim, is described as a serial attender of evening classes. The detectives draw up a list of all the classes she took with a view to checking out ‘all the other students or whatever they call them’, a lead they pursue by looking though her financial records for fee payments.

I’d wondered whether this meant that the murder turned on an evening class, which would have been mightily entertaining. But no; Antoinette describes the list of evening classes as ‘depressing as hell’:

Aislinn genuinely paid actual money for a…

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Adult educators and the UK honours system

The business of accepting honours from ‘the Establishment’ is a thorny problem and, in the end, has to sit well (or otherwise) with one’s conscience.

thelearningprofessor

Alan Tuckett Arise, Sir Alan

I’ve been quietly celebrating the award of a knighthood to Alan Tuckett, a lifelong adult educator who is probably best known for his leadership of the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education. Celebrating because the award acknowledges the way in which Alan didn’t simply ‘do his job’, but used his position to provide leadership and visibility for the wider field of adult learning, so that the knighthood can be understood as a public recognition of an important but often overlooked field.

All of this said, I don’t approve of the UK honours system on principle. The system rests on patronage and has been thoroughly tainted by cronyism and rewards for people – notably civil servants – who simply have ‘done their job’. It perpetuates the language of Empire and aristocratic rule, so I find it hard to see how it sits with the egalitarian and meritocratic world…

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Tim Walker: Independent Author with a foot in the past is my Guest Author this week

These historical novels look exciting!

Jane Risdon

Please welcome

my Guest Author

Tim Walker

Tim Walker is an independent author based in Windsor, UK.

His background is in marketing, journalism, editing and publications management.

Welcome Tim, I’m really happy to have you as my guest author.

I love anything to do with history so I’m really looking forward to your piece for us.

Let’s find out about Tim:

He began writing an historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages (set in the Fifth Century), in 2015, starting with a novella set at the time the Romans left Britain – Abandoned.

This was followed in 2017 with a novel – Ambrosius: Last of the Romans,

and the third installment,

Uther’s Destiny, has just been released in March 2018.

His creative writing journey began in July 2015 with the publication of a book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales.

In 2016 his first…

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