Blow-Ups: Stories from old postcards is a full-colour, heavily illustrated book written, designed and published by me. It comprises 88 pages full of gorgeous images from old postcards, blown-up until the dots show, saturated with colour, and, most importantly, the inspiration for fifteen short stories.
My book celebrates the people unwittingly caught in the shot at the moment the postcard photographer opened his camera shutter (they were almost always men during the period I've mined for images). I've imagined the dramas that might have been unfolding when these tiny scenes were captured: from the first look of love, through unexpected clashes to personal calamities. Look past what the photographers wanted you to see, to the half-hidden details in the background or on the edges of wonderful old cards. And enjoy my stories, by turns amusing or touching, about what might have been going on.
Buy from the Found and Chosen Etsy shop, with free postage and packing to the UK -- limited time only. If you're outside the UK, please get in touch for P&P costs to your country, or find the book via your local online retailer or bookshop.
£12.99, paperback, 88 pages, dimensions 20cm x 20cm.
Tom's Bad Stories is a full-colour, illustrated book conceived, designed and published by me.
It’s a mash-up of illustrations and sentences from The Giant Picture Dictionary for Boys and Girls, first published in 1949. The sentences were originally used to show the meanings of the words in the dictionary. I've used them in new sequences to make strange little stories of childhood misadventures and calamities.
This is not a book for children but uses material from an old children's book to make more adult stories. The pictures are also created out of the original illustrations in the dictionary but have taken on a more disturbing look. It's funny and quirky, in the spirit of Run Wrake's film Rabbit, or perhaps that rather scary old book, Struwwelpeter.
Buy from the Found and Chosen Etsy shop, with free postage and packing to the UK -- limited time only. If you're outside the UK, get in touch for P&P costs to your country, or find the book via your local online retailer or bookshop.
£9.99, paperback, 72 pages, dimensions 12.5cm x 20.2cm.
The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane is my detailed investigation of a dreadful crime that took place in 1866 in the North East of England, published by Quercus Books.
One evening in April 1866 a couple out walking stumbled over a bundle lying on a footpath up on Carr's Hill, a rocky outcrop on Gateshead Fell, near Newcastle. It was the body of a little girl and she had been assaulted and strangled. Who was the victim and what were the circumstances that put her in the path of a sexual predator?
From the disturbing post-mortem and inquest, through the efforts of the police to follow contemporary forensic procedure, to the revelation of the perpetrator and all that followed by way of legal process and lives ruined, this is a gripping piece of detective work.
Drawing on newly uncovered primary sources, the book evokes a haunting, liminal place, where the land itself constantly shifted, thanks to being heavily worked. Someone with privileged knowledge of it gained a disturbing advantage over those who might lose their way.
A serious work of literary true crime in the spirit of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.
“Housham is a dogged researcher and evocative writer. She sheds a powerful light on the era, skillfully describing the febrile, lawless atmosphere of 1860s Gateshead” – Mail on Sunday
“This was a fascinating read, particularly for those who are interested in Victorian provision of the criminally insane . . . She also gives us a flavour of the population of the time, of the haves and the have-nots and really conjures up details of the place where the crime was committed in astonishing detail . . . enlightening and clear-sighted” – Cleopatra Loves Books
“Well-written and excellently researched, this chilling tale of a Victorian sex murder opens out into an investigation into the workings of the lunatic mind and the asylums which treat it” – Julie Peakman
It can be purchased from Amazon here. Or order from any bookshop. £12.99 (368 pages)