Category Archives: Scarborough


I have often thought that if I didn’t live in Berlin, I might live in Scarborough – atop a cliff with sweeping views of the sea (of course). From there I would wander down to the beach, where the waves would lap at my feet as I followed the tide line towards the harbour, where I may, if the mood so took me, buy some crab or fish and chips. Or I might climb the steps that wend their way through the gardens to the streets of old buildings housing quirky little seaside shops.

I would definitely spend more time exploring the Grand Hotel, which from the outside at least, is a property of its word. Built in the mid 1800s in the shape of a V for Queen Victoria, it had 365 rooms, (one for each day of the year) spread over 12 floors (one for each month) and was allegedly the largest hotel in Europe. It lost any claim to that accolade a long time ago, but there is no denying the role of the Grand as a defining feature on Scarborough’s landscape.

The Grand Hotel, Hendrik Jonas

When I started to write Impersonation I had a feeling I would end up taking my characters to the North Yorkshire coast. And that meant Scarborough. From the moment I got us there, I knew we were in the right place. I loved letting Ruth free on the town, and every day I spent writing that section of the book, I woke up feeling as if I were really there; as if I could open my curtains and see the fishing boats heading out to sea.

Perhaps it is as close as I will ever get to actually living on that cliff of mine, but part of me hopes not. Because as a local man once said to me “I’ve travelled all over the world, but when I look at Scarborough, I think ‘my God, it takes some beating.’” I am inclined to agree.