An Unique Setting For Crime Fiction: The Salisbury Cathedral

SAn Unique Setting For Crime Fiction_ The Salisbury CathedralSalisbury’s beautiful Cathedral Close is not a place that intuitively conjures a story of twisted suspense, fear, and murder as might dark streets and urban decay, but psychological suspense thrives in what lies hidden beneath the surface; just as a killer might hide beneath a charming façade, so too can dark stories lurk in the most charmed of settings and gain power from that very unexpectedness. The impact of violence makes a bigger splash in a place of ordered beauty. A setting of ecclesiastical calm is the perfect foil in a thriller that encompasses betrayal and murder, the resultant shock waves rise higher. The following are some of the reasons why Salisbury Cathedral Close and, indeed, the surrounding town, work well as the setting for a story of dark suspense and murder.

A small well-knit community

The shock of a killing tears with force through a small-town community where life seems settled, where patients can see the same doctor for years, and neighbours form strong bonds. Good behaviour is expected. If one of those well-known doctors (a respected figure in a community like this) were to embark on an affair with a younger patient, condemnation would be immediate. Folks would close ranks. They might feel a sense of personal outrage and betrayal, the disgrace would be profound.

Secrets and ghosts

The Cathedral Close in Salisbury is a mecca for tourists who come from across the globe; it breathes serenity (or seems to) but each lovely house is like a separate city, housing secrets of its own, secrets that are easy to hide. Ghost stories grow up such as the noise of galloping that was heard in the sitting room of one such house, and when the wall was pulled down during restoration, the skeleton of a horse was discovered. It is hard not to imagine there could be other secrets thriving inside the ancient walls that enclose the ring of medieval houses surrounding the cathedral, secrets that might have power to disrupt and destroy.

The power of architecture

Salisbury Cathedral is a stunning work of architectural genius, the great spire and the superbly sculpted facade are picked out by floodlights at night. But looked at another way, it is also an impassive cliff of stone that dominates both people and landscape. The great spire, reaching high into the darkness, draws the eye into unfathomable reaches of the universe. Close up the walls are overpowering and there is a feeling that the whole edifice could topple and crash, destroying everything as it does.

The Cathedral is a monument to faith but also to the power and greed of the medieval clergy of the time. The inside is dark and shadowy, a great iron clock ticks out the minutes like a cold beating heart, marble pillars curve under the weight of the spire. The construction cost lives, this is beauty at a price. Chilling and dominating, the cathedral is a character in its own right, beautiful but with a beauty that hides darkness.

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