Author inspired by grandfather's diary chooses Warwick as focal point for mystery-style novel

An author who was inspired by his grandfather's diary has written a mystery-style novel that uses Warwick as a main focal point.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 4:30 pm

Andrew Baker, who worked with Cadbury's for many years - as did many of his relatives - has written his first novel called The Bournville Barge Mystery.

Having been born and raised in Birmingham, Andrew drew inspiration from his grandfather's diary where he detailed a journey from Cadbury's Wharf to Hatton.

He said: "The Bournville Barge Mystery is largely a fictional story, but it is based upon the factual diary written by my grandfather during one week in August 1921 when, as one of 25 young men from the Bournville Day Continuation School, he undertook a journey by donkey-drawn barge from Cadbury’s Wharf to Hatton.

Andrew Baker's novel The Bournville Barge Mystery uses Warwick as a key focal point. Photos supplied.

"They pitched their camp in a field above the famous flight of locks there and, next morning (Sunday), walked down to Warwick in order to attend Sunday service at St Mary’s church.

"Stan, my grandfather, carefully noted in his diary all of the places that he visited in and around Warwick during Sunday and Monday, but gave precious few details about what he actually did there.

"So I decided to invent an exciting adventure story around the chronology of his diary and to set the main action and ultimate dénouement of the mystery in Warwick. The history of the town, its buildings and its famous residents are all carefully researched and factually correct, but the story and its protagonists may not be. Or are they?

"My grandfather died three months before I was born and his diaries were given to me by my grandmother for my tenth birthday, along with a few of his favourite story books (by authors like E W Hornung, John Buchan and Arthur Conan Doyle).

"However, it was only six or seven years ago that I had the idea of turning the first of his diaries into the kind of story that I feel sure he would have loved to read."

Although Andrew grew up in Birmingham he often visited Warwick with his family.

He added: "I was born and raised in Birmingham, but I often visited Warwick with my parents as a boy and have especially fond memories of St Nicholas Park (and its train rides) and Warwick Castle.

"Much later, I came to know and love St Mary’s Church and, particularly, the Beauchamp Chapel. I read up on the history and legends of Warwick and wove them into my narrative, concentrating particularly upon the Beauchamp family whose medieval members occupy a central role in the mystery itself.

"I wove my fictional adventure story around a framework of historical facts, added in a dash of mystery and let the characters bring along their own romance, humour and fun.

"Much of the key action takes place along the canal journey from Bournville to Warwick - in Baddesley Clinton, Guy’s Cliffe and Warwick particularly - whilst a parallel travelogue narrative informs adventurers and readers alike of the history of places through which they travel.

"At the heart of the mystery is the Beauchamp family, Earls of Warwick for many generations and builders of the Beauchamp Chapel in the collegiate church of St Mary."

The Bournville Barge Mystery is available to buy at:

It can also be purchased at Waterstones, Amazon and W H Smith online and at some local booksellers.