The author of children’s crime novels set in historic Blackpool wants to inspire young girls on their career paths

Susan with her two Blackpool books in front of the tower

Susan Brownrigg, a former journalist, has just finished writing the third installment of her Gracie Fairshaw series of children’s books, set in 1930s Blackpool.

The stories are about a young detective, who also becomes a reporter in the station.

And she wants ambitious young Gracie to be a positive role model for underprivileged children.

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Susan at Blackpool Zoo with a lemur

She said: ‘I came from a working class family and I remember being told there were only certain jobs available to you. You could work in a store, but not much more. I want to show children that there are a lot of opportunities. That’s why I wanted Gracie to be a journalist.

Susan was the first person in her family to attend college, and as a child she helped her father on his milk rounds to earn pocket money.

She graduated in media from Cardiff University and worked at the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo Weekly for ten years.

She then worked in various museums, including twelve years as Head of Learning at the Norton Priory Museum.

And she did a season at Blackpool Zoo.

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The Lancashire writer’s first mystery children’s book is set in historic Blackpool

She said: “I want the books to encourage young working class girls to have ambition and to see that there are opportunities.

Gracie and her friends are working class, they don’t have a lot of money and they have to find ways to support their family at a young age. And his journalism helps him in his detective work.

And Susan has just finished writing the third book, which will show some of the different jobs that were available in 1930s British cinema.

“It’s happening at the Regent Cinema, and also at the Winter Gardens. It shows the film world in the 1930s because the British film industry was important before and during World War II.

The author grew up in Wigan and has fond memories of visiting the station as a child.

She often climbed the tower, rode the tram through the illuminations, and braved the “safer” rides of Pleasure Beach.

And when she started researching the resort’s history, she thought the 1930s would be a better setting than modern-day Blackpool.

Susan now works as an information assistant at the library. She said: “When I found out that a 15-year-old railway queen Audrey Mosson had turned on the Illuminations in 1935, I knew I had the setting for my book.

“Blackpool’s seaside heritage is so special. Many seaside resorts have lost their conservatories, their piers, all those traditional places have been demolished, but Blackpool Council has really done a lot to protect this heritage.

The first two novels, Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest, and Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower, are available now through UCLAN Publishing. They are both available from Waterstones, Amazon and Storytellers, St Annes.

The third novel in this series is due out in 2024.

Lola R. McClure