Chris Rushby: Brush up on your local culture


We sell lots of non-fiction books about the history and culture of Norwich, Norfolk and East Anglia and it's easy to forget how many brilliant novels are set in our part of the country. Here are just a few of them – from crime and thriller to great literary masterpieces – isn't it about time you brushed up on your local culture? 

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The colossus of Victorian novelists created some of his most memorable characters in this marvellous and partly autobiographical novel, set in large part in Great Yarmouth: Mr Murdstone, Nurse Peggotty, Steerforth, Betsy Trotwood, Uriah Heep, Mr Macawber.

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The Hard Way by Lee Child

Who’d have thought action hero Jack Reacher would end up in the sleepy Norfolk countryside? Lee Child reliably produces tense, satisfying, action-packed thrillers, this one with the bonus of a local setting. 

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Waterland by Graham Swift

A true modern literary classic: intelligent, troubling, angry and powerful. As the Observer said, it does for the fens what Moby Dick did for whaling.

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Coot Club by Arthur Ransome

The fifth in Ransome’s Swallows & Amazons series brings two of the central characters to Horning for an Easter holiday on the Broads. The usual genteel mayhem ensues. 

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Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

Jane Austen’s classic is rewritten for the modern age by one of the nation’s favourite novelists. In this version, a newly graduated Emma returns home to Norfolk, where some important lessons about life and relationships await.

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Part of our buy one get one half price offer

This House Is Haunted by John Boyne

The author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is a graduate of the UEA’s creative writing course and used his time in the county good effect, producing this creepy and superior ghost story with a Norfolk setting.

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Part of our buy one get one half price offer

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

No list of Norfolk-set fiction would be complete without Elly: her series of crime novels featuring Ruth Galloway and a series of cases steeped in Norfolk settings make for satisfying reading every time.

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The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

Many will remember the film with Alan Bates and Julie Christie, but Hartley’s novel, with its summer setting in north Norfolk, is probably his finest work of fiction and, in every sense, a great summer read.  

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The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson

Winner of the East Anglian Book Award in 2016, this clever and accomplished book features American novelist Patricia Highsmith hiding out in a Suffolk cottage – and is written much in the style of, and with the plot typical of, a Highsmith novel. 

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The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

The novel opens in the Blakeney Hotel and most of this splendid World War II thriller’s action takes place on that north Norfolk coast so beloved of locals and tourists alike. 

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