By Nicholas Rhea
Robert Hale - March 2002
ISBN 0709070624 - Hardback
Historical Crime
Yorkshire, England 1960s

Reviewed by: Rachel A Hyde,
Buy a US || UK Copy

One of the most popular UK TV series, Heartbeat is now in its eleventh series and set to continue for many more. With its winning combination of beautiful scenery, background music of 60's pop classics and gentle anecdotes about a bobby on the beat in the Yorkshire village of Aidensfield, millions of viewers settle back on a Sunday evening to see a vanished way of life. Many of them don't realist that these stories are all based on the actual police career and bestselling Constable series by onetime bobby Nicholas Rhea and this is his twenty-sixth compilation of tales, many of which are linked by the common theme of markets.

It is worth saying at this point that this is not going to appeal if you like your crime fiction with lots of hard-hitting social comment, gore and fast action. If you haven't stopped reading at this point and fancy a departure from the norm (which is always refreshing) this might well fit the bill.

So read all about encounters with peeping toms at a hostel for nurses, what happens when the Thumbstick Club's unique walking sticks get stolen, a live hand grenade and a runaway rabbit in amongst the greengrocery at market, and what village character Claude Jeremiah Greengrass is up to with his smelly dog Alfred. Find out what Twelve-Pint Pete gets challenged to do, why the Laughing Cavalier has taken up jogging and what is so special about Pedro the Paperweight. My own favourite part was a unique (and totally free) was of making your own set of indestructible kitchen weights.

As ever, reading this is like sinking into a warm bath or putting on your favourite slippers (presumably not both together) and there is an oddly hypnotic quality about it all that makes one yearn for something lost, even if you are not old enough to remember it. Although this book is sold as nonfiction I found myself wondering which stories were true and which half-true or made up - surely all these humorous and strange anecdotes didn't happen to one person? Many people reading this will never have seen or heard of the series; although take my word for it that it is a real British institution.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Constable At The Double - Constable Around the Village #3 & Constable Across The Moors #4
Constable Over The Stile
Constable Goes to Market  #
Constable Along the Riverbank  #24
Constable In The Wilderness
Constable over the Bridge   #27
Constable Along The Trail   #28
Constable in the Country   #29
Constable On The Coast   #30
Constable on View   #31
Constable Beats The Bounds #32 
Constable at the Fair   #33
Constable Over The Hill   #35

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