Tom Brown, the writer of a bone-chilling Victorian tale will be giving a talk at the Upper Norwood Joint Library about his latest novel, Strange Air, which is essential reading for anyone fascinated by the history of Crystal Palace.
The author, who lives in Crystal Palace, will be at the library on Saturday December 14 at 2.30pm to talk about his novel and the local history which inspired it.
Strange Air interweaves the irresistible tale of one of the Victorians’ most fantastic
inventions with the fate of the Crystal Palace. An exhilarating blend of railway history and suburban fairytale, the novel reveals how close one man came to changing the history of London’s public transport – and exposes the truth behind the fiery demise of the “People’s Palace”.
Strange Air dates back to 2008, when Tom Brown went for a walk with his girlfriend in Crystal Palace Park. “I take it you know about the skeletons,” she said. “Buried in a tunnel. Trapped in a Victorian railway carriage. People have seen them, apparently.”
Brown dashed home and went straight on the internet. People had indeed seen the skeletons – the rumours were true – and it was all tied up with a pneumatic railway trial that took place in the grounds of the Crystal Palace in 1864.
A railway powered by air? In Crystal Palace? It sounded like the stuff of fiction, so Brown went looking for a book about it. A Steampunk kind of thing. Something rich in detail, atmosphere and imagination, but with a solid base of historical accuracy. When he couldn’t find the book he wanted, he had to write it himself. The result is a macabre horror which chronicles a century-and-a-half of Crystal Palace Park history, while simultaneously
hurtling down a little-explored siding of Victorian railway history.
Brown will sign copies of Strange Air and So Long, Shakespeare, his first novel, at the event at Upper Norwood Joint Library, with copies of both books available to buy on the day.
- Skeletons in a tunnel start novel exercise in Crystal Palace
- Strange Air reviewed: Ghost train ride offers a twin track approach
Coming to Croydon
- CP Mums’ Winter Wonderland: Dec 6
- Small Business Saturday in Crystal Palace: Dec 7
- Cinema Ruskin: Dec 21
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- ‘Peculiar and wonderful’: an Autumn update (tombrownbooks.wordpress.com)