Monday, 1 June 2009


I'm currently working on a crime novel and I sat down yesterday evening to do a little more research on different parts of Bristol. I've been using Google Street View, which is a great tool for writers who want to know what a place looks like without the expense of train tickets. Trying to figure out where a minor character should work, I thought I'd start in Clifton and explore.

I've been to Clifton several times. Much of what appears in the opening chapters is based on places and shops that I've actually seen. About the only thing I made up was an Internet Cafe, where the killer whiles away a couple of hours before stalking his victim back to the station. So imagine my surprise when I turned a corner in Street View and saw this:,-2.609109&spn=0,359.999187&t=h&z=21&layer=c&cbll=51.464459,-2.609103&panoid=qFfaQI1Y9hQpklja43Rnkw&cbp=12,52.08,,0,13.09

I've never walked down that road. However, if you pan the camera to the left you should just be able to make out a Sainsbury's sign - just below it is one of the green canopies from the Starbucks restaurant, and a little to the right is the entrance to Clifton Down Station, both of which feature in the story.

It's an odd feeling. Writing about a serial killer is bad enough but finding an internet cafe just a few hundred yards from where I placed a fictitious one? Brrrrr.... that gave me the willies!


  1. You need to focus you work locally. Start thinking about the types of shops you are missing at then end of your road, like Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream parlor...

  2. You are Colin Fry. No - John Edwards. Hang on - maybe Derek Akora. No - you just got lucky! Spooky though.

  3. I'd rather be Ben or Jerry ;-)