Worthing remains a central inspiration for author Jim Pollard as he works on two sequels to his novel Tax Return which came out last year.
Jim, who lives in Worthing, is hoping that the first of the sequels will be out towards the end of this year, if not early next.
“Usually when you get towards the end, things slow up. My experience is that you think you are there, but then you need to get lots of people reading it and checking and there is usually a lot more to do!”
But he is happy to confirm that Worthing once again will play its part – though you won’t actually find the word Worthing in there.
Tax Return, a pacy murder mystery that navigates the highways and byways of Brexit Britain, is set in a fictional south-coast location known only by its nickname Biscuit Town.
“Keen readers have been spotting the references to nearby Brighton and Bognor and wondering exactly where this imaginary place might be found. People have been asking me since even before the novel came out whether Biscuit Town is Worthing, and I’ve always ducked the question. Tax Return is, after all, a mystery so I thought the more mystery the better.
“But to come clean, it’s not exactly Worthing because Biscuit Town has a dangerously-high cliff nearby, a bit like Seaford Head perhaps, and this cliff plays a key role in the plot. But it’s certainly true that many of the places and characters are inspired by Worthing life: the entertaining diversity of dogs and their walkers in Victoria Park, for example; the bowling green at Marine Gardens – perfect for enjoying an ice cream beside; and, of course, the hospital where several vital scenes take place. Staff and volunteers in both the real one and the fictional version battling against the odds.
“I had the idea for the book before I lived in Worthing, and at that point it was a melange really of the Bognor that I knew as a child when I had an uncle and aunt there. It was a mixture of memories really, also Littlehampton, and then we moved to Worthing, and so Worthing comes into it as well. The book is really a big melting pot of Sussex coastal towns.”
The novel Tax Return introduces the resort of Biscuit Town when a high-profile murder brings a highly-unlikely crime-fighting duo down from London: a disgraced copper and a French supermodel. Is this the death of a rich businessman or the death of something more?
“It’s a bit tongue in check, but it looks at some of the issues that are going on in Britain at the moment. The word Brexit is never mentioned, but there is a lot of stuff about the tensions and the polarisation of British society. A rich businessman is murdered. It turns out he has been murdered because he has not been paying his taxes, and things spin on from there. What happens if someone is so angry about someone not paying their taxes that they kill them? What effect would that have on other tax evaders?”
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For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2