What took them so long?


For the past four weeks there has been an inquest into the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974. Much of my book, Catch the Rainbow, was set against that period. Some of the plot hinged on speculation and suggestion behind the atrocity on my part. So far, quite a lot of what I speculated has emerged as either fact or also speculation during this inquest, confirming what a lot of people, and conspiracy theorists, have suspected over the years.

When I started to write Catch the Rainbow, it was to draw attention to two things: 1. What it was like to live in parts of Birmingham at the time and in the aftermath, and how it affected relationships between people, and 2. The fact that no one had accepted responsibility or accountability and that the people who did it were still free and unpunished.

Number 1. above still stands. Number 2. is … well, questionable now, because now I have several more questions: What took them so long? Why now? Why not in 1974? And why not as part of the Good Friday Agreement? And how convenient that some are either already dead, or already protected by that Good Friday Agreement.

And so I am in a bit of quandary about whether or not to continue with the story. A lot of work and research has already gone into the book. Can I really afford to let all of that go to waste? Can the story be re-worked again, taking into account the facts that now seem to be emerging, 45 years later?

If I put it on hold, the story will be delayed yet again. I do have other stories to work on, such as the next Marcie Craig mystery, which has also been put on hold again and again. I could start something fresh and new, because there are some schools of thought that say if you haven’t written it yet, after xx years, does it really want to be written? Or I could just give up on fiction writing altogether – but that was the reason I gave up the rat race in 1996, to write fiction full-time.

The poet thinks I should carry on with Catch the Rainbow. Marcie Craig fans think I should crack on with The Beast Within. (Although Marcie Craig fans might be interested to learn that she does feature in Catch the Rainbow, and so does Woodstock.)

What would you do?

2 thoughts on “What took them so long?

  1. I’d write the story. Nothing is concluded yet (and is unlikely to ever be given the GFA etc), so exploring the issues isn’t too much of a leap. But that’s just me.

Comments are closed.