Thursday, Aug. 26. Llandudno, North Wales. The jet lag caught up with me today. Immediately after breakfast I went back to bed and stayed there until 12:30 p.m., then took the bus to Conwy, home of the magnificent 13th century Conwy Castle. Built by Edward 1 as part of his chain of castles throughout North Wales, Conwy Castle is regarded as a masterpiece of medieval military architecture and figures prominently in my third book as the site of the murder. So I had to walk through it again to figure out where and how the murder happened. Although mostly only walls remain, you get a sense of what this fantastic fortress must have been like. Inside, you can still see some amazing details, like the outline of a massive fireplace in what was once the Great Hall.
Yes, the views from the wall walk are stunning but for someone with no head for heights, the wall walk is a terrifying place to be. Posted signs read “Visitors are warned to take every care to avoid accidents.” (On the lower level of the castle, beside what was once the water supply for the castle: “This well is 91 feet deep. Visitors are warned not to climb on the railings.”) The wall walk once served as an important part of the castle’s defenses. Soldiers could move quickly from one part of the castle to the next, and of course, use the wall walk as an outlook or to attack and repel invaders.
The wall walk is very low in places, no more than two feet high and believe me, it’s a long way down. On the other side, you could fall just as far into the interior of the castle. So once I’d figure out who was where when the murder happened, I left the Castle and headed into Conwy for a cup of coffee before an appointment I had really been looking forward to.
I passed an open garage door and couldn’t resist stepping through. I found myself in a lovely garden.
So after coffee and fabulous Victoria Sponge cake at a cafe called Coffee and Books, it was on to the Conwy police station, conveniently located down the street from the Castle on Ancaster Square, right in the heart of this wonderful walled town.
I had a great time chatting with PC Chris Jones (and in the interests of full disclosure, I admit I’ve always had a bit of a thing for British policemen.)
He explained how the police would handle the situation if someone were to jump/fall/be pushed off Conwy Castle wall walk and where the investigation would go from there in terms of identifying the body. He was really helpful and I really enjoyed meeting him. He was also very generous: he gave me a police jumper, cap, cap badge and old-fashioned police whistle!
And then I went to the Conwy public library and talked to a curious, lively, fun group about why a Canadian mystery writer would set her books in North Wales. Afterwards about three people came up to me and said they had relatives living in Toronto.
So that waspretty much it for today. Tomorrow I am off on the train to Prestatyn to have lunch with Elizabeth Musgrave who writes a most engaging blog and I am looking forward to meeting her. She has a very handsome peacock who has been AWOL or on walkabout. I hope he’s come home because I’m looking forward to meeting him, too.