Local books offer a perfect Christmas read

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As always at this time of year, I make suggestions for books to give as Christmas presents. This time it’s a little different: instead of the Christmas blockbusters, I am concentrating on books that have local connections.

For ‘whodunit’ fans, there are two local authors of detective novels,.

Set in Derbyshire, Already Dead by Stephen Booth begins with the discovery of a man’s body lying in shallow water, but torrential rain makes forensic examination impossible. It’s the 13th in the popular series featuring detective sergeants Ben Cooper and Diane Fry.

Unquiet Grave is the latest from Steven Dunne. It’s another case for DI Damen Brook of Derby Constabulary, who has been banished to the Cold Case Unit after a spell of suspension. He soon sets about piecing together an extraordinary series of crimes spanning half a century.

Whilst there are many books about both Nottingham Forest and Notts County, Mansfield Town are by no means neglected.

A recent book by Chad news editor Stephen Thirkill describes some of the most memorable games in the history of the club.

In Mansfield Town: 25 Most Memorable Games, you can relive some of those thrilling moments. You can pick up a copy for £10 from Chad’s reception.

You can also relive Mansfield Town’s promotion-winning season last year with Matt Halfpenny’s excellent Stag Party. Call 01623 450301 for more details.

For someone who likes something to get their teeth into, try Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey.

Follow the author as she tries to uncover the mystery of why a suite of rooms at Belvoir Castle was kept locked for 60 years and why the 9th Duke of Rutland wanted to remove and destroy certain sections of his private papers before he died. It’s available from bookshops and online in paperback (£9.99) and hardback (£20).

Nearer to home, there’s yet another new book about D H Lawrence. Called Heartlands, it describes all the places mentioned in Lawrence’s books, describing them as they appeared to Lawrence, how he used them in his writings, and what can be seen now. These include Eastwood, Brinsley, Moorgreen and Greasley. It’s by Stephen Bailey & Chris Nottingham and is available from bookshops and online, price £9.75.

Bevercotes, Calverton, Linby, Thoresby and Newstead are just a few of the collieries featured in Coal Mines Remembered and Coal Mines Remembered 2 by Martin Weiss and Tom Leafe (both subtitled “Notts and East Midlands Pits of the Past”). Profusely illustrated with archive photographs, these two books are packed with a miscellany of newspaper style articles about the pits and the men who worked in them.

A companion volume entitled Railways Remembered covers railways in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas with special features on the loco sheds at Westhouses, Annesley and Kirkby. All three are £12.99 each plus postage from AD Newspapers Ltd, 7 Wesley Street, Annesley Woodhouse, Notts, NG17 9HN or Chesterfield Tourist Information Centre (while stocks last) .

If you’re not sure where to go for a good selection of local books, here are a few suggestions: W H Smith Mansfield, Waterstones in Nottingham or Chesterfield, Chesterfield TIC, The Bookcase at Lowdham (or online at www.nottinghambooks.co.uk), Strays Bookshop in Newark or The Bookworm, Retford (or online at www.hive.co.uk/shop/retford/bookworm)