Heartbeat: Constable books from Áccent Press
The early episodes of Nicholas Rhea's series of Constable books have become collector's items - both in their own right and because they contain the seeds of the much loved Heartbeat series. Now independent publisher Áccent Press have reissued of some of those hard-to-find titles in a smart Heartbeat livery. The first two titles were published on September 1st 2008: Constable on the Prowl (see separate page) and Constable around the Village (see below) and a series of matching reissues continued to appear at monthly intervals thereafter - a total of eight books in all. There couldn't be a better time to trace Heartbeat back to its roots.
Constable around the Village
As he settles into the village life of Aidensfield, Police Constable Nick Rhea begins to understand the complexities of rural law enforcement, much of which proves to be very unofficial but highly effective. We hear of his dilemmas as he is torn between his desire to prove the crippled Sidney Chapman's dog innocent of sheep-worrying, and the need to do his duty. Farmer Lowe's sheepdog presents a different problem: the overworked old dog is pretending to be deaf and Rhea finds himself drawn into the crisis; without the dog, the cows cannot be milked.
More stories from P.C. Rhea of his life in and around the Yorkshire village of Aidensfield. There is the ritual of the First Footing, the scandal of the missing grave and the saga of the Hunt Ball that found a lost child. Funny, sad and with an understanding of the countryside and local people, this is the village bobby at his best.
Constable around the Village is currently available in Áccent Press and Endeavour Press editions: it has been published in a number of editions and formats, many of which are out of print, though collectors may be able to find copies in secondhand and specialist shops.
Constable across the Moors
Police Constable Nicholas Rhea continues his enthralling account of rural bobbying on the North Yorkshire Moors and finds himself dealing with a host of intriguing characters who live and work on these spectacular heights.
Among the hilarious anecdotes are the cases of witchcraft used by Katherine Hardwick to rid herself of a troublesome suitor and the insurance man who covers a dog against its persistent theft and unscrupulous love-making. Contrasting with the humour and joy of rustic life there is sadness and Nicholas Rhea tells the poignant tale of the man who came to bury his wife on her beloved moors.
The book is packed with stories of a country flavour and it provides a colourful picture of police work in a large rural district. There is humour and pathos and above all a love of human beings and concern for their welfare.
Constable across the Moors is currently available in Áccent Press and Endeavour Press editions: it has been published in a number of editions and formats, many of which are out of print, though collectors may be able to find copies in secondhand and specialist shops.
Constable in the Dale
To an untrained eye, the villages of rural Yorkshire may seem quiet enough but, as he patrols his beat on foot or on his trusty Francis Barnett motorcycle, young PC Nick is privy to many an unfolding drama.
He is on hand to help out when Aidensfield decides to enter the Best Kept Village competition and finds itself the victim of a dirty tricks campaign by its rivals. Then there is the mystery of the spontaneously combusting henhouse, and PC Nick has to cope with the consequences when the vicar tries a novel way of keeping the churchyard tidy.
Constable in the Dale was first published by Robert Hale in 1983; the Áccent Press edition was published on October 6th 2008.
Constable by the Sea
In the fifth book of the Constable series, Nicholas Rhea continues his highly popular police stories - this time with a seaside flavour.
As a seasonal break from his usual village beat on the North Yorks Moors, young Police Constable Rhea finds himself involved with holiday-makers and their problems. As well as the normal seaside duties, how does he cope with a man who has lost his false teeth in the sea and another who wants to give away thousands of pounds when drunk? Then there's the stray Labrador that thinks he's a police dog and accompanies police officers on night patrols, and the anxious fisherman who daren't tell his wife that he owns a racehorse. These and a galaxy of other delightful characters are encountered by our rural bobby as he goes about his business in this new environment.
Constable by the Sea was first published by Robert Hale in 1985; the Áccent Press edition was published on November 3rd 2008.
Constable along the Lane
Crime comes to Aidensfield when haystacks are fired and Arnold Merryweather's ancient bus helps catch a car thief. When PC Rhea arrests not only a pig thief but also the expectant pig, the police station cleaner is not very pleased. But it's not all crime. A glider crashes into a romance in a thatched cottage and then Rhea is involved in a plot to force a Yorkshire miser to spend money. A cheerful and entertaining insight into the daily life of a rural police officer.
Constable along the Lane was first published by Robert Hale in 1986; the Áccent Press edition was published on November 3rd 2008.
Constable through the Meadow
As Rhea's beat is modernised, with the replacement of his police bike by a mini-van, Nick gets more than he bargained for as his work draws him into closer contact with villagers, in more ways than one!
There are compromising positions aplenty in this next charming installment of Aidensfield life, as Nick finds himself lost in dense fog and runs across a couple of illicit lovers trapped in their car. He advises the village grocer about his very respectable lady shoplifter and discovers how Farmer Owens copes with his nagging wife. In this volume Rhea provides a charming portrayal of the village bobby and genuine North country folk.
Constable through the Meadow was first published by Robert Hale in 1988; the Áccent Press edition was published on January 5th 2009.
Constable in Disguise
Britain's most popular bobby turns detective!
A delightful account of Constable Rhea's foray into the CID, whose initials are said to mean 'Constable in Disguise'. Young Rhea is appointed as an Aide to the CID, an essential part of every constable's training. Adopting civilian clothes, he joins the Criminal Investigation Department to learn about the work of the men in plain clothes.
Asked to keep a watchful eye on a house thought to be used as a brothel, Rhea quietly climbs the roof and sends a tile crashing through the window. When the woman resident and her five brothers set about the neighbours for causing the damage, the police turn out in force and arrest everybody... Meanwhile Rhea lies low on the roof.
Investigating a series of housebreakings, the CID visit a local snooker hall. There the Detective Sergeant challenges two strong suspects to a match on the understanding that if he wins, they will admit to the crime.
Packed with stories that reveal the joys and sorrows of country folk, Constable in Disguise creates a colourful picture of Rhea's foray into detective work in North Yorkshire.
Constable in Disguise was first published by Robert Hale in 1989; the Áccent Press edition was published on February 2nd 2009.
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