Some time ago I mentioned that I was hoping to include a map in what I was then calling “Plank 3”. This became “Worm in the Blossom”, published in October 2015 with no map. But I have news. I live in Cambridge (east of England) and recently some maps appeared in the windows of local shops, highlighting some street art in our neighbourhood. The maps were just wonderful: black and white, with clear lettering, and beautiful little drawings of local landmarks. Perfect for Plank, I thought – but bound to have been done by some fancy-pants design studio in London. However, after asking a few questions, I discovered that the artist lives about ten minutes’ walk from me, and what a lovely man he is.
Jon Harris is perhaps even more batty about Cambridge and about history than I am, and is blessed with the ideal skill for communicating his enjoyment: an ability to draw glorious maps. I met him this weekend in a café in town and explained what I envisaged for Sam, and he got it immediately. We bonded over a love of Ronald Searle’s drawings and – to cut to the chase – Jon has agreed to do Sam’s map for me. Or rather, Sam’s maps.
We decided, after I had explained the concept of the series of seven books, that what we need is eight maps: one “base map” showing the four or five key Sam locations (his house, the Great Marlborough Street police office, Newgate and so on) and then a version of this for each individual book, showing the base key locations plus the places that feature in that particular book. So for “Fatal Forgery”, for instance, we would add Fauntleroy’s bank and the Coldbath Fields house of correction, for “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat” Freame’s bank would appear, and so on.
As for how to distribute these maps, this is still a little uncertain, but what I am thinking is this. For the books that are already published – “Fatal Forgery”, “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat” and “Worm in the Blossom” – we will prepare the relevant maps and then have them available as a free PDF downloads from this website. I will also put a note in the front of each book to that effect, so anyone who buys the books from that point onwards will know where to find the maps. I don’t want to actually add maps to these books as it’s a bit of a swizz for people who have already bought them. But for new books – “Plank 4” onwards – I will put a map in the paperback book itself and offer the free PDF download as well. The map in the book might have to be slightly abbreviated, given the limited space available on a paperback page, but the PDF one will be the full monty. E-books, I suspect, will not have maps – apparently diagrams are the very devil to get into e-books and I don’t fancy wrestling with it for days. So e-book buyers – past and future – will be directed to the PDF downloads. I think. We’ll have to see about the technical stuff as we go along.
But for those of you who said you’d like to have a map so that you can trace Sam’s footsteps, just a little more patience: it’s on its way!