Lord James Harrington

by #1 Amazon Best Seller Lynn Florkiewicz

The characters

Lord James HarringtonLord James Harrington was born in the village of Cavendish, West Sussex, on 11 April 1910. He married his Boston-born wife Beth in 1932 and, five years later, they were overjoyed to be blessed with the birth of healthy twins, Harry and Oliver.

Between the ages of four and 18, he attended the nearby and historic Ardingly College. Academically, he was an average student but proved to be an extremely popular and sociable pupil, becoming an active member in many clubs and teams, including athletics, chess, rugby, tennis and cricket. He attended Oxford University for just over a year but left early to concentrate on helping his ailing father run the estate. James has a younger sister, Fiona, who lives in the West Country with her husband, William, and their only child, Christian.

The Harrington men have been ‘Lords of the Manor’ in the village for several generations and, until the end of the First World War, they lived in the old manor house built around the 17th century. But, as times changed, it became necessary to rethink the finances. James’ father decided the manor was far too big for the family and, while living there, had a smaller property built nearer to the village. After moving to the new house, his father then converted the old family pile into a country hotel and called it Harrington’s. His mother and father died within a few months of each other and left the estate to James and Fiona. Fiona had no desire to run an estate and married into aristocracy. James was delighted to take over from their father and took on the role of Lord of the Manor and the running of Harrington’s.

In the early thirties, James fancied himself as a bit of a racing driver and had some minor successes at Donnington Park and Monte Carlo. But Beth was opposed to the danger he exposed himself to, especially with young boys to look after, so James reluctantly gave the sport up. Instead, he pursued the more gentle pursuits of cricket, tennis, fishing and walking.

Harrington’s opened in the early 1930s and proved to be very successful but, when the Second World War began, James had to adapt. He joined the RAF as a mechanic and allowed the hotel to be used as a military hospital for wounded servicemen. After the war, James reopened the hotel and marketed its use exclusively to the rich, both abroad and in the UK. He tries to stay one step ahead of his competitors and regularly updates the hotel with any latest trends or designs he discovers in foreign travel brochures. With the ‘Lord of the Manor’ status dying out, this is where James sees the future of the Harrington family.

For the time being, James stays true and loyal to his duties and has enough land at their current residence to stage many of the customs and events that the villagers take part in. He’s a huge fan of tradition, folklore and ancient customs and will celebrate all things local, even if those myths and legends have died out in other areas.

He also loves crime novels and the wireless productions of Paul Temple encourage his secret desire to be an amateur sleuth. He resolved a theft issue whilst at University, foiled an infiltrator in the air force and became good friends with a policeman who came to investigate a burglary at the manor house. That policeman is George Lane who, back then, was just a constable. He is now a Detective Chief Inspector at Lewes, the headquarters of the Sussex constabulary. His other close friend is someone from the opposite end of the social scale, Bert Briggs, a true East Ender. They met during a school visit to a London museum and have stayed friends ever since.

James loves his home and his family and enjoys nothing more than settling in with Beth and listening to the wireless over a glass of sherry. He’s also a regular down at the local pub, a regular church-goer and enjoys a stint on the cricket and tennis teams. At home, he loves cooking and is particularly renowned for his desserts and every-day meals that are taken from his grandmother’s recipe book.
Lady Beth HarringtonBeth Harrington (nee Wilson) was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 12 January 1912. Her father was a banker and her mother, a housewife. The Wilson family are, historically, wealthy and a branch of the family ancestry can be linked to the Pilgrim Fathers. Beth did most of her schooling in and around the Boston area but, at 16, she gained a place at a ladies finishing school in England. Beth is a very creative individual and loves sewing, knitting, cooking, dress-making etc. Academically, she didn’t do very well but her outgoing personality ensured that she made an impact where she went. She loves the theatre and the cinema and she copies many of the fashions and styles of movie legend, Audrey Hepburn. Her favourite shop is Liberty’s in London.

Beth is heavily involved with James in respect of the village activities and makes a point of welcoming everyone to their social events and making them feel at home.

She is an only child and her parents are now both dead.

She met James at Epsom race-course. A pre-Derby meeting was on and she attended with friends. They got chatting and hit it off straight away, marrying soon after in 1932. Her maternal instinct kicked in and she was delighted to have twin boys and become a loving and supporting wife and mother. Beth shares James’ love of cooking and listening to the wireless.

It has been some time since she returned to Boston and she considers herself to be more English than American.
Bert BriggsBert is true Cockney and hails from the very heart of London’s East End, Bethnal Green. He’s the same age as James but has no idea when his actual birthday is. Typical of East End families in the early 1900s, Bert was one of twelve children, seven of which died before they reached their 5th birthdays. Bert’s father worked at Billingsgate fish market while his mum looked after the kids and did her best to make the wages and the food last.

He attended both primary and junior school and was always in trouble but Bert had, and still has, an enquiring mind. With the different cultures and nationalities in the area, he has retained substantial knowledge of history, myths, folklore and tales relating to the different communities. Bert left school at 14 and joined his dad working in the fish markets at Billingsgate.

He married at 20 and moved to the backstreets of Brighton to be with his wife but the marriage failed just a few years later. Bert decided he was not the marrying kind but stayed on in the area whilst keeping close links with his contacts in London. He’s now a dealer of sorts and will often be drawn into dodgy deals and be given items that are not strictly legal to sell. But, he covers his back and has yet to be found out by the police.

Bert became firm friends with James when he was on a school outing to the Natural History Museum. He ribbed James rotten about his ‘toff’ accent but they got on really well and stayed in touch. Although he and James are true friends, no-one really knows exactly where Bert lives, who his other friends are or where he makes his deals. He’s open and honest on the surface but one always wonders exactly what he’s been up to in the past.

Bert’s main concern is James’ other ‘best buddy, Detective Chief Inspector George Lane. Bert has yet to be taken into custody by Lane over his deals and he tends to stay clear of Lane if he can help it.
Reverend Stephen and Mrs Anne MerryweatherThe young and likable Stephen is 30 years old and hails from Reading in Berkshire. He trained to be a primary school teacher and enjoyed his time at a small school in Kidlington, near Oxford. But, he found that his interest in the church became so overwhelming that he felt inclined to follow that path instead. It’s his passion yet he does not inflict his beliefs on others. Indeed, his unassuming manner and character endear others to him.

He is, on first impressions, a weak man but, once you get to know him, you discover a strong-willed individual determined to make a difference in society and one who is happy to do different things in the church to interest his audience.

He met his wife, Anne, while he was teaching in Kidlington and they married early and have two boys, Mark (aged 10) and Luke (aged 8). His post in Cavendish is his first full time role as a vicar.

Anne was born in Pulborough, West Sussex and underneath an initial shyness she’s a bundle of fun. She’s a couple of years younger than Stephen and had always wanted to work with children and have children of her own. The Primary school post in Kidlington was right up her street and she loved every minute of it. But the chance of marrying and settling down with her own family was an easy decision for her and she loves her role as the vicar’s wife, especially in the small village of Cavendish where she can get involved with the local activities.
Detective Chief Inspector George LaneGeorge is the same age as James although he looks and has always acted older than his years. He was born in Eltham, South London to a middle-class family and went through the normal education system with a keen interest in English, Maths and Geography. He knew, from an early age, that he wanted to be a policeman and joined up as soon as he was old enough to do so. At the age of 20, he was posted to Lewes and there he learned his trade as a bobby on the beat, getting to know the locals and learning the procedures and processes of the law and how to move up the ladder.

He never married, preferring instead to be devoted to the job. At the age of 42, George reached the rank of DCI and will continue to pursue a higher position if he can. He’s gruff, stubborn and doesn’t suffer fools gladly but he gets the job done.

George met James when a burglary occurred at the Harrington’s. He was a young constable then but, with a mutual love of cricket and the fact that they both ended up playing for the same team, a long-standing friendship developed. George does, however, get exasperated at James’ love of playing amateur sleuth.