Two new books

Fiction based on Canvey

Two fiction books based on Canvey Island

Scream by Nigel McCrery

A woman screams in pain. Twenty-seven times, until she dies. The sound file was sent to DCI Mark Lapslie from an anonymous email address. Why is she screaming? Why would someone record that horrifying noise? And why send it to him?

He soon learns that the file was sent from the hospital where he is being treated for synaesthesia – a neurological condition that cross-wires his senses so he tastes sound – and where his new girlfriend works. When a body is discovered, the most shocking murder scene Lapslie has ever encountered forces him to realise there is a violent killer out there, a killer whose method of choice is torture. Will Lapslie find the killer? Who will have to die before he does?

‘You need to listen to this.’ DCI Mark Lapslie receives an anonymous email bearing this strange subject line at a terrorism conference in Pakistan. Opening the attachment, he hears a woman scream. In all, she screams twenty-seven times before her final death rattle is heard. Horrified by the message, Lapslie decides to head home early and investigate. But when he finds out the message was sent from the hospital where his new girlfriend works and where he’s undergoing treatment for his synaesthesia – a neurological condition that confuses his senses so he tastes sound – he’s none the wiser. Who is screaming? Why? And who on earth is making them scream? Meanwhile, his DS, Emma Bradbury, is dealing with a murder victim who’s been brutally tortured and dumped on an island in the Thames Estuary where outsiders are greeted with distrust and fear. As he begins investigating, desperate to get to the bottom of the screaming voice, his questioning of a minor leads her father to make a case against him. Just as he and Emma unearth a string of kidnappings, torture and brutal murder, he is taken off the case. Unable to work, Lapslie is forced to sit around, while the killer comes far too close to home..

Review:-I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it is nice to see someone taking the time to find out about Canvey’s history but when it came to the policeman talking almost none-stop covering about a hundred years of our history it was a bit OTT.


Coming of Age In Canvey by Madelaine Hall

Description :-

‘As if I hadn’t enough on with one child on my hands, I took him home. And thereby hangs a tale.’
‘To cut a long story short: reader, I married him. So here’s the back story.’
‘I told her if she wasn’t in bed by midnight to come home.’
Recently Essex girls have somehow won a reputation for being brainless sluts. This book won’t set the record straight but it presents an alternative view.
These are the stories of sisters growing up in south Essex in the sixties and seventies. One stayed home and brought up babies whilst the other took the hippie trail east and brought back her man from Pakistan, a marsh Arab, Pitsea marshes that is. Later they reversed positions, one moving lock, stock and barrel for a new life in France, the other finally grounded in Canvey.
Canvey’s oil refineries continue to light the night skies – a celestial city all its own. The daily reality of life alongside industrial plant is less romantic but islanders survive and thrive. They look to their own and have a thought too for the oil fields of Pakistan where their raw product comes from. Cheer up, things could be worse.
Mary and Alex are both witty and wise, mostly. When Mary’s doubt in her own abilities combines with Alex’s belief in her own infallibility both can come a cropper. Smartness and sympathy see them through to success in the search for a good life and the creation of new life.
New life here is both human and horticultural. Reproduction, sexual and vegetative, runs right through yielding a fine crop of dirty jokes and earthy humour. Read this book for an insight into Essex characters, from home and abroad, and a better understanding of horticultural Latin.

Review:- I am afraid I found this book boring and hard to follow and she skitters about all over the place, other people may well like it. As far as Canvey is concerned-where are these oil refineries then? I know the book is fiction but you should do the research if writing about a place that exists.

Comments about this page

  • Good question, where are the oil refineries, they were a huge part of the island going all the way down Haven Road in the 60s,maybe I misunderstood and they are still there, but if not when we’re they pulled down? I know we walked past them when we were blackberry picking, do they still grow on the side of the road?

    By Alison Patterson (22/12/2013)
  • There have never been oil refineries on the island Alison

    By Janet Penn (22/12/2013)
  • There was or were they Gas refineries, they were definitely there in 1967, I would stake my life on it. I am old but my memory is pretty good. They were big white tankers, I have to dig out the old pictures. They were on Haven Road I believe, the right turn just past the News Agents if you were coming from Charfleets housing estate, past the old church where we did rubbings of the gravestones. My mums friend lived on that road. The next landmark after the King Canute or the Haystack was Long Road school and before that on the left was a garage. Then Furtherwick then Jones’ corner then a park and then you were in “the town”. My brother and cousin were Christened at St Nicholas’ church when it was still new. I was one of the first children to go to Northwick Park school that was built behind the council estate. My first teacher there was Miss Rogalska. I remember there was a lorry that would pull up on the council estate and sell fruit and veg, especially pomegranates. Mrs Payne was my first year infants teacher at Long Road. We lived on St John’s Crescent in a new house, my mum and dad paid £2000 for it in 1965, I looked it up and today it is going for £160,000 unreal to think about it. I have an announcement from the Benfleet News when my brother was born in 1966 and an old clipping from the 1967 Nativity Play at Long Road, I will try and scan them. I also remember being on the float in the Canvey Carnival and dancing around the maypole at open day, I have some very old cine film of that, I need to get it into a medium we can all see. I remember Canvey as a happy place, with long summer days, my nan and grandad had a caravan in the caravan park where they always met up with their friends Mr and Mrs Pierce. Great memories, I live in the US now and cannot begin to describe how good my childhood was to my children, pages like this are priceless.

    By Alison Patterson (22/12/2013)
  • This link shows a picture of the refineries.

    By Alison Patterson (22/12/2013)
  • That is not a refinery. Oil or gas. They are still there they are storage tanks. Canvey has never had a refinery.

    By Janet Penn (22/12/2013)
  • Hi Alison, As Janet says the tanks at the end of Haven Rd are and always have been a storage facility originally built pre WW2 for oil products. It was known then as London and Coastal probably it’s busiest period was in the late 50s to the early 70s with the Regent Oil Company. Now under the Oikos banner in latter years it has been used to store both toxic and non-toxic liquids. This has occasionally given rise to controversy and some apocryphal stories regarding their contents. I think the one about the liquid remains of cattle suffering from ‘ mad cow disease’ is the best one. Your slight confusion re actual refining is probably due to the fact there were some tall structures on the neighbouring Methane Gas plant which bore some resemblance to the ‘cracker’ towers at Coryton but did not have the same height. Rod Bishop is the expert in this area and has published some interesting pages on the subject on the Archive. Couldn’t agree with you more about enjoyable childhood on Canvey, an oft repeated comment from those who had this experience in the early and mid 20th century.If you have photos and bits of memorobilia please send them in.

    By Graham Stevens (25/12/2013)

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