Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Covent Garden Vampire

Darkness Falls, the second of the Ravenwood books is mainly set in and around the very creepy Highgate Cemetery in North London and the series’ website (, features a virtual tour of all the sites featured in the books, from April’s house to the school itself, so I thought it might be good to do a tour of the other main setting in the books – Covent Garden.

The reason I chose WC1 in the first place is because Coventry street, which runs East from Trafalgar Square, is the only other place in London that real-life vampires have been reported. In 1922, a man walking along this street was bitten on the neck and taken to Charing Cross hospital. That same day, two more people were admitted to the hospital, bleeding from similar puncture marks. The vampire never reappeared, but it made me think ‘where did he – or she – go?’

It helped that Covent Garden is one of the most haunted parts of London: even the tube station has two ghosts, one called the Screaming Spectre’. If you’ve read By Midnight, you’ll know that April’s grandfather lives here (there’s a big house just east of the market I based it on) and that her favourite cafĂ© is Patisserie Valerie on Bedford Street, which is where the big chase scene in By Midnight begins, ending just south of there by Cleopatra’s Needle on Victoria Embankment. In Darkness Falls, an important location is Redfearne’s Bookshop, which was based on Treadwells Occult Bookshop on Tavistock Street. Sadly, it moved to Bloomsbury in February, so you can only stand outside, like April, imagining what was inside.

Oh, and the final reason I chose Covent Garden is that the shopping there is fabulous. There’s no reason research has to get in the way of retail therapy, is there?

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