RETIRED English teacher Peter Cooper has published his first novel, centred around a character ‘stolen’ from Charles Dickens.
Peter, 61, who taught at Fartown High School and Shelley College, based his novel on Insp Bucket from Dickens’ Bleak House.
Bucket is widely regarded as one of the first detectives to appear in English literature, though Peter’s book is more historical thriller than detective story.
Dad-of-two Peter, who was head of English at Fartown for 13 years before ending his career at Shelley in August 2010, had always wanted to write.
Retirement meant he could concentrate on his previously rejected novel, Inspector Bucket and the Beast.
Peter, of Thurstonland, devoted his time to re-working the novel – and landed a deal with a small independent publisher.
The novel is out now and Peter will be signing copies at the official launch at Waterstones in Huddersfield’s Kingsgate Centre tomorrow from 11am to 1pm.
Peter said: “I’ve always wanted to write and even at school students would say ‘you should be a writer, sir’.
“Well now I’ve done it and I hope people enjoy it.”
It’s not unusual for authors to ‘pinch’ characters from other novels and make them their own.
Famously, George MacDonald Fraser borrowed the bully Flashman from Tom Brown’s School Days and built a career out of it, publishing a whole series of books.
Peter said: “If you’re going to pinch a character you might as well borrow one from the best in Charles Dickens.
“Bucket has a significant but relatively minor role in Bleak House and I thought I could develop him further.
“Dickens described Bucket as wearing a ‘mourning ring’ but didn’t explain why. I decided to develop a back story that Bucket lost a child and now tends to seek out waifs and strays.”