Remembering Helen Cadbury – A Tribute


Helen Cadbury – a fabulous author and a Yorkshire lass

Helen Cadbury (1965-2017) was a British crime fiction author, poet and playwright, whose debut novel To Catch a Rabbit won the Northern Crime Award, was an Amazon Rising Star, and was chosen as one of the Yorkshire Post’s “top novels since the millennium to reflect the region”. It was the first in an ongoing series featuring PCSO Sean Denton, which has been optioned for TV by Red Planet Pictures, producers of Death in Paradise.

Helen was born in the Midlands, grew up in Saddleworth, near Oldham, and spent the last 15 years of her life in York. When she was a child she wanted to be an actor, a writer, or an ice cream man’s assistant – with two out of three achieved, she said in May 2017: ‘I’m still looking for an opening in the ice cream trade.’ Valley Press will publish the first collection of her poetry Forever, Now in November 2017.

From Valley Press

Like everyone yesterday, I was stunned to hear about the passing of Helen Cadbury. I wanted to show my appreciation and love for a very special crime writer.

I got to know Helen, when she sent me her first book to review in 2015. I was over the moon, when I finally met her in 2016. I met her twice in 2016 at two festivals, at Crimefest and at Harrogate. She was such a lovely, articulate and kind woman. She went out of her way to thank me for my reviews. She made me laugh, when we chatted. She sat next to me at Harrogate, when the football was being played. I saw something very special in her. I was slightly in awe, that she remembered me. She was so down to earth. Everyone loved her.

I thought about the best way to remember Helen Cadbury. I decided that celebrating her wonderful books was the way to go. I am re-publishing my reviews of the lovely gritty Sean Denton series, set in Doncaster. I love Sean Denton, the brilliant young PCSO. I am gutted that Race To The Kill will be the final in the series. I really wanted this series to develop and continue to flourish. I want to encourage you all to get your hands on them and to remember a very talented and much loved crime author.

These are the Amazon links to the two books in the Sean Denton series: To Catch A Rabbit and Bones In The Nest

Race to The Kill is due to be published later this year and can be pre-ordered here.
 Helen chatting away at Crimefest 2016 to Fergus McNeill and making us all laugh.

My review of To Catch A Rabbit (2013)

To Catch A Rabbit is the debut crime novel from Helen Cadbury. It is a delight because of Sean Denton.

The story is set firmly in Yorkshire, mostly in Doncaster and York. A young Community Support Officer, Sean Denton, finds himself inadvertently investigating a murder. He seems to be the only one interested in what happened. The only one who cares. At the same time, a woman is searching for answers about her brother. Her brother has gone missing. The two strands eventually draw together.

We get a dark and engaging plot, with a very contemporary feel to it. The dark world of prostitution and human exploitation is explored. This is something I heartily approve of.

I found myself very drawn to Sean Denton. He is a character with so much potential. He is observant and bright. And he cares about the victims. He really should be promoted from his CSO role to something more suiting his intelligence, like running a murder squad. A CSO for any non Brits reading this, is a support officer working with the police in the community. They are not meant to do any investigating, just be a visible police presence in the community. Sean breaks all of the rules!

It is great to see a crime novel set in Yorkshire, with lovely Yorkshire colloquialisms. I think it is the first time, I have seen the word ‘snicket’ in print, apart from in the local Bradford newspaper the Telegraph and Argus.

I hope we get many more Sean Denton adventures, in the future. Helen Cadbury is an author to watch out for. Recommended, especially if you live in the north!

My review of Bones In The Nest (2015)

It is wonderful to find a captivating character in a debut novel. Helen Cadbury brought us Sean Denton, a young PCSO with a huge future ahead of him. It is lovely to see him back, in this second novel in the series.

Set two years after To Catch A Rabbit, Sean Denton is now a uniformed police officer. He is now a Constable and is learning the ropes in his home town of Doncaster. His character is developing nicely, as we see him gaining confidence in his new role.

The story takes us to the council estate Sean’s Dad lives on, in Doncaster. A young Muslim man is murdered and mutilated. Sean is one of the first officers on the scene. And the infamous Chasebridge killer is released from prison causing anger in the community. We get a real sense of the working class community trying to make sense of change and racial tensions being deliberately stirred up. Chloe Toms is released from prison and is reintegrating back into society. She is living in a bail hostel in York. It is not easy for her making sense of a new world of technology and finding a new place in the world. Sean gets in on the murder case investigation, as he knows area and culture. It is not easy for Sean, being so close to the action.

This is fabulous Yorkshire crime, told through the eyes of Sean in Doncaster and Chloe in York. We get a really gritty story, that feeds into contemporary issues of race, immigration and changing working class communities. Helen Cadbury brings to life the tensions in a Doncaster estate. I particularly liked the way Sean was used, to bridge the gap between the police and the community.

I have a really soft spot for Sean Denton. I hope that we get to see him in many more Doncaster crime adventures and getting to position of authority, in time. Mark my words, this is a series to watch. I predict great things for the Yorkshire lad.

Totally and utterly recommended.




About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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One Response to Remembering Helen Cadbury – A Tribute

  1. Hi – I was lucky enough to meet Helen at an event she did at York Theatre Royal earlier this year which was an absolute pleasure. It’s a very sad loss to the world of crime fiction.

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