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Five great books set in MANCHESTER

31st December 2019

Manchester is the latest place for us to visit in our ‘Great books set in…’ series. Five great books set in Manchester.

Five great books set in MANCHESTER

“Manchester is in the south of the north of England. Its spirit has a contrariness in it – a south and north bound up together – at once untamed and unmetropolitan; at the same time, connected and wordly” – Jeanette Winterson

Everyone Lies by A D Garrett

DI Kate Simms is on the fast track to nowhere. Five years ago she helped a colleague when she shouldn’t have. She’s been clawing her way back from a demotion ever since.

Professor Nick Fennimore is a failed genetics student, successful gambler, betting agent, crime scene officer, chemistry graduate, toxicology specialist and one-time scientific advisor to the National Crime Faculty. He is the best there is, but ever since his wife and daughter disappeared he’s been hiding away in Scotland, working as a forensics lecturer.

In Manchester, drug addicts are turning up dead and Simms’ superior is only too pleased to hand the problem to her. Then a celebrity dies and the media gets interested. Another overdose victim shows up, but this time the woman has been systematically beaten and all identifying features removed. The evidence doesn’t add up: Simms’ superiors seem to be obstructing her investigation: and the one person she can’t afford to associate with is the one man who can help: Fennimore.

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Home is Where The Heart is by Freda Lightfoot

1945. Finally, peace has been declared. Cathie hardly dares believe that Alex, the fiancé she has not seen for nearly two years, is coming home. And, finally, life can begin again for Cathie and the orphaned baby in her care.

But the Alex who returns is not the kind, loving man Cathie remembers. He’s cold, selfish, sometimes even frightening. So Cathie has a choice: stand by him, and try to contain his violent temper? Or hold her tiny baby close…and run from the man she has yearned for.

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Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Mary Barton, the daughter of disillusioned trade unionist, rejects her working-class lover Jem Wilson in the hope of marrying Henry Carson, the mill owner’s son, and making a better life for herself and her father. But when Henry is shot down in the street and Jem becomes the main suspect, Mary finds herself painfully torn between the two men.

Through Mary’s dilemma, and the moving portrayal of her father, the embittered and courageous activist John Barton, Mary Barton (1848) powerfully dramatizes the class divides of the ‘hungry forties’ as personal tragedy. In its social and political setting, it looks towards Elizabeth Gaskell’s great novels of the industrial revolution, in particular North and South.

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The Cotton Harvest by A K Nawaz

Manchester: England’s Second City.

A migrant worker who disappears without trace… A human trafficker who boils his victims alive… A century-old blood sport returns to the streets…

Disillusioned police recruit Khorum Choudry is already thinking of quitting when he’s ordered to look for a missing Czech girl.

When a mutilated body is found, the junior officer is temporarily promoted to Greater Manchester Police’s elite Major Incident Team

A brutal sex trafficker is the prime suspect. But Khorum isn’t so sure that a strangely, secretive group aren’t too blame.

His unofficial investigation exposes a brutal secret in the housing estates of Manchester, a corrupt property deal which could change the city forever, and the shocking truth about the missing woman he is trying to find…

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Sirens by Joseph Knox

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again.

When Aidan Waits, a troubled junior detective, is summoned to her father’s penthouse home – he finds a manipulative man, with powerful friends.

But retracing Isabelle’s steps through a dark, nocturnal world, Waits finds something else. An intelligent seventeen-year-old girl who’s scared to death of something. As he investigates her story, and the unsolved disappearance of a young woman just like her, he realizes Isabelle was right to run away.

Soon Waits is cut loose by his superiors, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. He’s out of his depth and out of time.

How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

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Andrew for the TripFiction Team

Do you have a favourite read set in Manchester? Have we missed an obvious choice? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. User: Tess P

    Posted on: 18/01/2020 at 5:22 pm

    Yay for my home city of Manchester! Sebald also writes wonderfully of the city.