Mining for stories: the boom-and-bust mining literature cycle
Alan Carter, Robert Schofield and David Whish-Wilson – all local novelists – drew on their experiences within mining communities to create crime novels that demonstrate the complex culture of a mine site and the unique characters that offer themselves perfectly to the genre.
The world of mining is dominated by larger-than-life personalities, men of risk (and Gina) whose bold pursuits occupy the media’s attention. Whichever boom or rush that we choose to consider these figures emerge immediately and are surrounded by myths or scandals, and occasionally a few lasting achievements.
Such personalities might be fertile ground for historians and biographers but it is the everyday figures of mining life that offer themselves to the crime writer. These figures are no less affected by the ambition, lust, greed and betrayal that is immediately associated with the mining barons – but it is their peripheral position, both geographically and socially, that offers the crime writer narrative possibilities.