Friday, 7 February 2020

Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson

The Friends of Molesey Library know that crime thrillers and murder mysteries are among our most popular genres of books with local readers. So, we are expecting a lot of interest in our next author event, an evening with the true crime writer Monica Weller.

The date for your diary is Tuesday 25 February, 7pm at Molesey Library in Walton Road. The title of the talk ‘Injured Parties. Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson’ is also the title of Monica’s 2016 book.

In November 1966, popular physician Helen Davidson was battered to death in dense woodland a few miles from her Buckinghamshire home. She had binoculars around her neck, from bird watching and Detective Chief Inspector Jack 'Razor' Williams of Scotland Yard, surmised she had “spied illicit lovers, was spotted, and one or both of them killed her". He had received 50 police commendations in his career, yet not one for a murder case. Unsurprisingly, within weeks the police operation wound
down, Williams retired, and another Cold Case hit the statistics.

However, 50 years later amateur sleuth and author Monica Weller set about solving the murder. As she sifted the fresh evidence, a number of suspects and sinister motives began to emerge. She uncovered secret passions, deep jealousies, unusual relationships, and a victim with a dark past. Finally, her persistence and dedication were dramatically rewarded when she uncovered the identity of the murderer!

Monica previously uncovered fresh evidence about Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, in a book she co-wrote called ‘Ruth Ellis: My Sister's Secret Life’. The talk in February will be an opportunity to find out more about this remarkable author’s life and works. Tickets are £5 on the door or in advance from the Library.

On 28 January the Friends of Molesey Library held our ninth Annual General Meeting. We’re grateful to all the Molesey residents who came along to hear about our efforts to promote and support the Library. We were delighted to welcome Sarah Holding, a leading author in the growing ‘cli-fi’ genre of science fiction inspired by climate change.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Climate Change author to speak at Library AGM

On January 28 2020, we will be hosting our first Author Event of the New Year when we welcome Sarah Holding, who writes for young adults and whose successful SeaBEAN trilogy has been described by former Children’s Laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson as “A different way of
introducing children to environmental issues”.
Sarah, whose books fall into the burgeoning “cli-fi” or climate fiction genre had been a postman, an architect, a university professor and a community planner before becoming a full-time author.
SeaBEAN tells the story of Alice and five other children living on the remote Scottish island of St Kilda whose life changes when the strange C-Bean Mark 3 shows up and transports them far and wide to New York, Australia and the Amazon rainforest. Their travels soon lead them to understand that there are forces at work which have put the whole planet in jeopardy.
Since SeaBEAN was published in 2013, Sarah has given workshops and talks in over 150 schools, and the trilogy was republished in a compendium edition in 2018. Sarah’s new book Chameleon, which is due to be published in early 2020, is about three genetically engineered humans and is set during the fall of Atlantis, which she speculates happened during an earlier period of intense climate change.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Before Sarah’s talk, the Friends of Molesey Library will hold their Annual General Meeting, which will provide an opportunity to report on our activities during the past year and, as far as possible, to look ahead at possible future developments.
The AGM will start at 7.30 pm and the whole evening is FREE to attend. However, it would be very helpful if you could pick up a ticket at the Library in the usual way so that we are able to gauge numbers attending.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Love, life and war in London's East End

Kate Thompson
Best-selling fiction and non-fiction writer, Kate Thompson, will be the next guest speaker at Molesey Library’s popular series of Author Events. During her visit on Tuesday November 19 2019, Kate will tell us about some of the formidable women living and working in London’s East End before, during and after the War.
Kate, who had worked for 20 years on women’s magazines and national newspapers, published her debut novel Secrets of the Singer Girls in 2015 telling the story of women working together in an East End clothing factory during the Blittz. Bound by ties of friendship, loyalty and family, their lives are thrown into turmoil by the devastating events of the War but their shared experience brings them closer together than they could ever have imagined.
The book rapidly became a Sunday Times bestseller and has recently been optioned for a TV series.
Other sagas of East End life followed and then, in 2018, Kate published her first non-fiction work The Stepney Doorstep Society, drawing on her years of research into East End life and telling the true-life stories of five formidable matriarchs. From confronting the Kray twins, taking over the London Underground and crawling out of bombsites, these women fought to protect their community during some of the country’s darkest hours. The book reached No 1 in Amazon’s history category.
Kates’s latest novel - Secrets of the Homefront Girls - was published in August this year and a further work is also in the pipeline.
Kate currently lives in Sunbury but has an even closer connection to Molesey as her parents live locally.
Please come along and join us at 7.30 pm on November 19 for what promises to be a lively and entertaining evening. Tickets cost £5 and are available from Molesey Library.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Using Molesey Library is crucial to its survival

The new season, 2019- 2020, of our popular Author Events will be opened by Robin Driscoll on 24th September 2019.The tickets are on sale in the library this week and as ever it is VERY helpful if you are able to buy your ticket in advance as this helps us with set up.
As a point of information, there will be some changes at the library and we said farewell to three of our regular staff during the last two months. I understand that during this period many staff have left the Library Service so at the moment staff seem to be moving between libraries as needed. Hopefully, in the near future staffing issues will be sorted out and we will have a more permanent team again.
I think you are all aware that the Library Service is under review and I have no idea what the future holds. However, I do know that using the library is crucial to its survival so as ever I urge you to use our library as much as you can as footfall (numbers of users going in) and issues (number of books taken out) are measured each month by officers and comparisons are made between all the other libraries.
We look forward to welcoming you on 24th and do remember that we hold a weekly coffee morning every Friday between 10a.m - 12 noon. 

Kind Regards,
Pauline MorozgalskaChair of the Friends of Molesey Library

My career with TV's Mr Bean!

Robin Driscoll, picture credit: Bridport News
After the summer break, our popular series of Author Events at the Library will resume on Tuesday September 24 with a visit from Robin Driscoll, author and former scriptwriter for Mr Bean.
Robin’s early career was spent travelling with the Cliffhanger Theatre Company and performing around the country including, for a number of years, at the Edinburgh Fringe.  There they were spotted by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones and in due course Robin had great success writing for, and taking on supporting roles in, their very successful show Alias Smith & Jones.
Later Robin was asked to join Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis (of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Blackadder fame) in co-writing Mr Bean for Thames Television - the start of a dream job that kept him busy, along with other work, for 25 years.
Now Robin has put scriptwriting aside to write mystery thrillers choosing, as he says, to write what he himself likes to read. He has three fast-paced thrillers already under his belt, the latest of which -Still Warm  - tells the story of NYPD detective Josie King searching for the kidnapper of her young god-daughter.
With such a varied career, Robin will have plenty to talk to us about so please come and join us at the Library at 7.30 pm on September 24 for what promises to be a most entertaining evening. Tickets cost £5 and are available from Molesey Library.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Meet the Author event - Harriet Sandys

The next speaker in our series of Author Events at Molesey Library will be Harriet Sandys who will talk about her book Beyond the Last Blue Mountain.
She will tell us about her experiences as a young woman from a sheltered and privileged background who she set off alone to find out more about the plight of Afghan refugees displaced by the Soviet invasion.
Determined to do something about the refugees’ dire situation, she set up a small silk weaving project for illiterate Turkmen refugees, and was sent by UNESCO to Mazar-i-sharif to work with Afghanistan’s last remaining silk ikat weavers. During those years she was arrested by the KHAD, narrowly missed being blown up, survived acute bacterial meningitis in a Kabul hospital, and rescued an abandoned pi-dog puppy who became her devoted companion.
At the end of the first Gulf War Harriet travelled with the Peshmerga in the newly-liberated Iraqi Kurdistan. Then in 1994 she joined a group of unemployed builders and decorators driving convoys of food and aid from Croydon to the Muslim enclaves in Bosnia Herzegovina.
These days, Harriet continues to raise money for charity through her business selling oriental textiles and remains friends with the refugees she helped in Afghanistan.


Harriet will join us at the Library on WEDNESDAY 24 APRIL 2019 at 7.30 pm. Please note the day - Wednesday - rather than Tuesday when we normally hold our Author Events. We hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a fascinating talk. Tickets are available from the Library priced £5. We would be very grateful if you could buy your tickets IN ADVANCE as this really helps with planning the event.





Sunday, 3 February 2019

Meet the Author event at Molesey Library - Stuart Laing

After the excellent talk about Iraq given to the Friends at January’s AGM by Sir Terence Clark, we are pleased to welcome another career diplomat - Stuart Laing - as speaker at our next Author Event on Tuesday 26 February.
Stuart Laing is co-author of a book on Omani-British history, Unshook Till the End of Time, took an MPhil at Cambridge in 2012 on the abolition of slave trading in the Indian Ocean, and has published a biography of Tippu Tip, the Arab ivory trader of the late 19th century.
His talk for us has the intriguing title Tippu Tip - Ivory, Slavery and Discovery in the Scramble for Africa.
In his Foreign Service career, Stuart Laing specialised in Arab and Middle Eastern affairs and served in Saudi Arabia and in Cairo, and then as High Commissioner in Brunei, Ambassador in Muscat, and later Ambassador in Kuwait. After leaving the world of diplomacy, he served as Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for 10 years.
We hope you will be able to join us on Tuesday February 26 at 7.30pm - tickets cost £5. It is very helpful for planning purposes if you can commit by buying your ticket IN ADVANCE from Molesey Library.

Friday, 21 December 2018

What to expect at the Friends of Molesey Library AGM on 22 Jan, 7pm

The Friends of Molesey Library Annual General Meeting will be taking place at the library on Tuesday 22 January at 7pm. Admission is free, and we've lined up a distinguished speaker in Sir Terence Clark, a former diplomat and expert on the Middle East.

He will be entertaining us with a talk entitled 'In The Cradle of Civilisation'. Sir Terence will introduce you to Iraq, where he spent nearly 5 years as the British Ambassador, during much of Saddam Hussein’s war with Iran. But, as he will show, it was not all bombs and bullets and in the many quieter interludes he was able to explore this ancient land in depth, often with the aid of a native four-legged ally, his Kurdish Saluki.

Sir Terence was a career diplomat and Arabist and had previously served in many other countries of the Middle East as well as in Europe. He and his wife went to war-torn Iraq with some trepidation in 1985 but found the situation less fraught than media coverage suggested. By showing an interest in the history of Mesopotamia (the Land between the Two Rivers - Tigris and Euphrates), with which Britain has often been closely involved, he had licence to travel far and wide, getting to know Iraqi professionals, academics, artists, tribal sheikhs and people at every level of society and visiting the many historic sites from the Garden of Eden on-wards. In this talk, Sir Terence will highlight some of the fascinating people and places that he came across in the hope that it might encourage a more positive view of Iraq.

Sir Terence was also Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman. In retirement he has written extensively on the history and politics of the Middle East. His latest book – The Salukis in my Life, here, there and everywhere, from the Arab world to China – describes his many adventures in unusual places with these “Companions of Kings” across the vast region of their natural habitat.

In addition to hearing from Sir Terence you'll also hear briefly from our Chair Pauline and Treasurer Liz and assist in appointing the Committee for the coming year. We will aim to get the formalities out of the way quickly and on to our guest speaker. We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Talk cancelled

Unfortunately the talk this evening with Dr Peter Clark has had to be cancelled due to ill health. We will try to arrange this for another date. If you have already purchased tickets we will contact you to arrange a refund. - The Friends

Saturday, 27 October 2018

From the Middle East to Molesey

What connects Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and the Middle East? They are all specialist subjects of Dr Peter Clark who will at Molesey Library on Tuesday 20 November to give a talk.

The Middle East is never far from the news and Peter has known the region for over 50 years, 30 of them working locally for the British Council. In 1988 he was posted to Abu Dhabi to run the Council’s office there. As a self-confessed romantic, he took up his new job rather reluctantly, initially viewing the United Arab Emirates as a brash, consumerist society and lacking in history.

Over time he fell in love with the country and its people. He got to know Abu Dhabi sheikhs and Dubai merchants and people at every level of society. He introduced a riotous Shakespeare company, organised the return of explorer Wilfred Thesinger and greeted royalty, politicians and celebrities.

With fluent Arabic, Peter has had access and insights denied to most visitors. The country was on the cusp of enormous economic expansion and his Emirates Diaries paints an affectionate picture of the country when it still resembled a chain of large informal villages.

Our events organiser John Coope will be 'in conservation' with Peter on the night and assisting the audience to find out more about Peter's life and works. He says: "Peter is a recognised authority on the Middle East and has translated and edited books written in Arabic and published other books in English about the area. He has led cultural tours to many countries in the region. We are lucky to have the opportunity to hear an expert view of an area which features so largely in the news headlines today."

Now back in the UK, Peter has also published two books on places associated with the life and works of Charles Dickens and has a new book looking at locations linked to Winston Churchill.

It promises to be a lively and wide-ranging discussion so we hope you will be able to join us - tickets cost £5 and are available from Molesey Library.