Fictional Stockport detective Ted Darling is going back to school in Central France. Students from a secondary school in Ambert in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region are taking a break from classical literature in their English lessons to study the Ted Darling Crime Series, written by former Stockport resident Lesley Tither, writing as L M Krier.
Crime fiction books featuring a fictitious Stockport detective
A teacher from the school attended an event at a local library back in January where Lesley was appearing to present her crime fiction books, as well as the popular Sell the Pig series of travel memoirs she has written about her move to live in France with her elderly mother and brother. The teacher bought one of the Ted Darling books, read and enjoyed it and approached Lesley about giving a talk at the school.
Lesley jumped at the opportunity, always enjoying interacting with young people. She was especially impressed that the school chose books featuring a gay main character which have an underlying message of equality and acceptance.
Putting Stockport on the map through crime fiction
Lesley lived in Stockport growing up and maintained ties with the town until 2007 when she moved to live in France. She is now a French citizen. In 2018 she was one of the sponsors of Stockport Pride, with the book series, and hopes to do the same in 2019, planning to return to visit for the occasion, her first trip back to the UK since she left.
She chose Stockport as the base for her series of crime novels – eleven now published with a twelfth under way – as it is the town in which she’s lived longer than anywhere else. Some of its striking architectural features, notably the famous brick viaduct, provide the basis for the covers of her books.
For the project, more than one hundred school students, aged around fourteen years, had to read an edited extract, in English, from the first book written in the series, Baby’s Got Blue Eyes, then answer questions about what they’d read. Lesley is then set to visit the school to talk to the pupils and answer their questions about writing.
Ted Darling fans who follow this blog might like to have a go at the questions the students were asked. You might perhaps like to share your answers in the We Love Ted Darling group on Facebook, where all the die-hard fans hang out. Below are the questions, which the students had to read and answer in French, together with the points awarded for each correct answer.
Surname of the main character 1pt
His first name 1pt
His age 1pt
The town or country where he lives 1pt
6 details about his physical appearance 6pts
Family details of his childhood 3pts
His current family situation 2pts
2 details about his work 2pts
His clothes 2pts
His hobbies 1pt
What did Ted’s father spend his money on? 2pts
Why does DCI Jim Baker highly appreciate Ted’s work? 4pts
Give two of Ted’s qualities and explain your choice 2 pts
Give 4 details about Trevor 2pts
How does Ted get through the difficult aspects of his work? 2pts
Draw or make a collage representing Ted Darling based on details from the text you have read. 3pts.
Further update after the actual event of the school visits – two, one week apart.