Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

Talking Location With author Decima Blake – Egypt comes to London

6th March 2023

TalkingLocationWith …  Decima Blake, author of Hingston: Smoke and Mispers – Egypt (in London)

Hingston: Smoke and Mispers carries the tagline, “The magic of London this December is dark, deceptive and murderous…” Set in 2012, this is the second book in my genre-bending Detective Sergeant Hingston series, which blends crime fiction with history and a touch of spookiness.

For readers of TripFiction who enjoy checking out fictional crime scenes, and for those interested in historic London architecture, Egyptology or magic, here is a selection of the visit-worthy locations from the book:

Decima Blake

Selection of mementos collected from visits to the British Museum, the Magic Circle Headquarters, the Petrie Museum and a postcard of the Egyptian Café which used to occupy 36 Greek Street, W1D 5DL.

The Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery West, N6 6PJ

The crime which prompts the opening of a Major Incident Room at Hampstead Police Station takes place here.

“Pulling back the gates, she looked up the avenue and through to the Circle of Lebanon vaults beyond. The sun illuminated the pale stone pediment that faced her and this increased the illusion of the avenue’s great length. She would often pause to admire the drama of the architecture seen from this particular spot at the entrance. It reminded her of the fabled ascent toward heaven’s light, but this morning, her eyes were being drawn from the light toward the unfamiliar shadow that encroached at the left of the exit.

Stood still with her breath trapped inside her pounding chest, she computed the shadow’s human form. The shoulder protruded sharply. The neck was held at a tilt with the face shying away from the daylight. The thickset body appeared of giant stature until she saw the feet drooping down towards the ground…”

One of the “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries, I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful location in Highgate village. In addition to guided tours in winter and spring, I attended a fascinating evening event about the magician David Devant, and explored the area to test my fictional ideas from a forensic point of view. The West Cemetery is now open to the public for both self-guided visits and guided tours. https://highgatecemetery.org/visit/cemetery/west

The Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery West

The Magic Circle Headquarters, NW1 2HD

“Straight away Hingston was absorbed by the invitingly mysterious ambience that had been created in the home of these world-class magicians. Shades of blue flushed the walls from strategically placed uplighters. Golden spotlights warmed sunken display cabinets that tantalised visitors with their windows into magic’s history.”

The Magic Circle deliver a superb evening’s entertainment. Their basement museum also features in Hingston: Smoke and Mispers, and is a must-see. https://themagiccircle.co.uk

The British Museum, WC1B 3DG

A visit to the Egyptian sculpture gallery is well paired with lunch at the British Museum’s Great Court Restaurant. Do you know that you can research any topic, by appointment, in the museum’s study rooms? Hingston’s investigation takes him behind the scenes to the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan.

Since renamed Egypt and Sudan, I undertook some of my research the department’s library and study room. I was intrigued to see a small mummiform figure and cylindrical object which were found within the bandages of the mummy of Hor. https://www.britishmuseum.org/resources/study-rooms

For those interested to learn more about Egyptology while following Hingston’s investigation, significant scenes take place at:

The Petrie Museum, WC1E 6BT

“The archaeological treasures from Ancient Egypt were held back behind glass and secured within countless rows of shallow drawers… Patches of faded colours clung to once vibrant surfaces, yet a striking beauty was still retained in their carved designs. Faces with bold eyes and immortal presence stared stoically from death masks, canopic jars, statues and reliefs, delivering every sense of the power and mystery conjured by the grandeur of the pyramids and the reign of the pharaohs.” https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/petrie-museum

Decima Blake

Gallery 20, Egypt, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, CB2 1RB

The trip from London to Cambridge was valuable to Hingston. Seeing Ramesses the Third’s sarcophagus lid in person is better than relying on photographs. And, as Hingston finds out, there is so much to do in Cambridge while you are there: “Lunch was a hearty roast with all the richness of Cambridge’s historic academic hub in which the restaurant held a prime location opposite the tremendous, gothic King’s College and its spectacular chapel. It was also neighbour to the unique, modern timepiece known as the Corpus Clock.”  https://fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/visit-us/galleries/gallery-20

Richmond Avenue, Islington, N1 0NA

“Richmond Avenue, Islington: affluent, chic and guarded by a unique row of sphinxes and obelisks. This swanky location was easily identified. The elegant Georgian terraces with their floral mouldings and decorative ironwork attracted homeowners who sought an exclusive type of kerb appeal.”

Decima Blake

Richmond Avenue, Islington

The extent of the influence of Ancient Egyptology on London architecture is revealed as Hingston’s investigation progresses, such as:

  • Greater London House, the old Carreras Cigarette Factory, NW1 7AW
  • Crystal Palace sphinxes, SE19 1UE
  • the Egyptian Escalator in Harrods department store, SW1X 7XL
  • Cleopatra’s Needle, WC2N 6NU
  • New Broad Street House, EC2M 1NH
  • Kensal Green Cemetery, W10 4RA


Catch the author on Twitter @decimablake

Join Team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction)

Subscribe to future blog posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join TripFiction and take part in our weekly GIVEAWAYS!

Other benefits of membership include:

   Receiving an entertaining monthly newsletter

   Adding new books to the site

   Reviewing books you have read