IMG_0011Whitstable is a wonderful novella steeped in the atmosphere of the 1970s, telling a story centring around the actor Peter Cushing in the days after the loss of his beloved wife Helen, when he seems totally lost and with no reason to continue living.

He forces himself out of his house in Whitstable and while sitting near the beach is approached by a young boy, Carl, who recognises him as (and clearly believes him to be) Van Helsing from the Hammer Dracula films and wants him to help destroy a real monster, his mother’s boyfriend who is (and this is not a spoiler) clearly abusing him.

The subject matter is incredibly grim, but what makes this novella so special is how vividly Peter Cushing is brought to life as a man of integrity and honour and dignity, who even in his deepest despair believes that he has to do the right thing by a vulnerable boy.

It’s a touching and memorable story written to mark Peter Cushing’s centenary in 2013 and brings to life the man who I will always picture wearing carpet slippers while filming the part of Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars and about whom I have never heard a single bad thing. And I cried a little bit at the end.

Beautifully written and very, very moving.