A Proper Person to be Detained
By Catherine Czerkawska
On Christmas Night in 1881, John Manley, a poor son of Irish immigrants living in the slums of Leeds, was fatally stabbed in a drunken quarrel. The frightened murderer went on the run, knowing that capture could see him hang.
A few generations later, author Catherine Czerkawska begins to tease out the truth behind her great-great-uncle’s tragic death. But she uncovers far more than she bargained for.
In a personal family story that takes us from Ireland to the industrial heartlands of England and Scotland, from the nineteenth century to the twentieth, Catherine gives voice to people often maligned by society and silenced by history-immigrants, women, the working classes.
She unearths a tale of injustice and poverty, hope and resilience, and she is both angered and touched by what she finds. Catherine is driven to keep digging, to get to the very heart of life- and death-in the not-so-distant past.
I’m a novelist and playwright published by independent publisher Saraband. I spend half of my time researching and writing historical novels and non fiction and the other half dealing in antiques. In addition, I have written more than 100 plays for BBC radio, television and the stage and still write the occasional stage play. I love the whole process of rehearsal and production. I have an honours degree in Mediaeval Studies and a postgraduate Masters in Folk Life Studies – all good preparation for a writing life and for researching various projects. I currently live and work in rural Scotland, in a 200 year old stone-built cottage with a beautiful garden which I love. I write almost every day, but also spend time each week dealing in the antique and vintage items that often find their way into my fiction – especially The Posy Ring, published in 2018. My new non fiction title, A Proper Person To Be Detained, the true story of a murder in my Leeds Irish family, and its tragic aftermath, will be published by Saraband in July 2019. I’m married to an artist and our grown-up son is a professional video game and app designer living and working in the EU. We’re quite a creative family! It would be nice to have 25 plus hours in a day, but I’ll make do with what I’ve got. And I’m very happy indeed to talk about all aspects of my writing, but especially research and its place in historical fiction and fact.