A SKELMERSDALE children’s author is dancing on air after the release of her ballet-themed mystery!
Susan Brownrigg, of Eskdale, has penned ‘Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower’, a new book set in Blackpool in 1935.
It is inspired by a real-life professional children’s ballet that was based in the resort’s famous Tower for 70 years.
It is a sequel to the author’s debut – Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest.
This time, Gracie - the series’ young detective - is delighted to get a sneak preview of the Children’s Ballet’s Christmas spectacular. But when the curtain rises, things go horribly wrong for the young dancers.
Susan said: “My books are always inspired by real events and real people. I like to spend a lot of time researching and I especially enjoyed looking at old newspapers on microfiche at Blackpool’s Central Library. That was where I first learned about the children’s ballet.
“In the 1930s, the Tower was known as the Wonderland of the World – and not surprisingly because it had an aquarium, circus, menagerie, ballroom, roof gardens and tower ascent!
“What is less well known is that the ballroom was also host to the Blackpool Tower Children’s Ballet between 1902 and 1972! Girls would queue around the block to audition – and some went on to stardom, the most well-known being ‘Little Emmie’ who was just eight years old when she first performed.
“I was fortunate to meet two former members of the ballet during a special celebration to mark the tower’s 125th anniversary who shared their personal memories of the ballet.”
After working as a journalist and sub-editor, Susan changed careers and worked in heritage education at Rufford Old Hall, Tatton Park, Quarry Bank Mill and Norton Priory Museum, in Runcorn.
Susan now works as a library assistant, and as well as working on a new book, she has been visiting schools across the North-West delivering author talks and workshops.