48 Doughty Street is a rather elegant building tucked quietly away in the middle of London’s Bloomsbury, which has a very impressive claim to fame: it’s the only surviving London home of one of England’s greatest writers, Charles Dickens. Today it houses a museum dedicated to his life and works. Last night it played host to an event presented by the historical crime writer Lynn Shepherd whose latest novel Tom-All-Alone’s was inspired by Bleak House. CFL are pleased to say that we were in attendance.
The talk was an intimate affair in one of the museum’s upper rooms with a slide show presentation to accompany it. During her talk, Lynn spoke eloquently about the origins of her book and why she chose Bleak House as her muse. She took us on a tour of London in 1850, conjuring up a variety of images of its dark and sometimes dangerous streets, the people readers will meet in her book, together with the real people we’d be likely to encounter. Hers is a very 21st century novel, though. Free from the social restraints imposed on Dickens, Tom-All-Alone’s is able to openly discuss the issues that were of such importance to Dickens with the addition of modern observation.
The evening concluded with a book signing session in the museum’s café. It was an extremely pleasant occasion and lovely to meet Lynn, and Emily from Corsair. The museum itself is due to close for refurbishment on 9 April 2012, but is open daily until then and is definitely worth a visit. Lynn will be taking part in the Great Dickens Debate on 23 February at the English-Speaking Union, as part of Dickens 2012. She’s an excellent speaker so if you’re a Dickens fan why not pop along.