Inspector Cornelius Armstrong

ornelius Armstrong

Given that this post coincides with the publication of Volume II of Inspector Armstrong's Casebook, I thought it appropriate to tell you a little bit more about him and the inspiration behind him.

Cornelius was born in Carlisle in 1864 and, like many Carliseans, was descended from a combination of Border Reivers and Celtic immigrants. For those who don't know much about the Border Reivers, they were basically a bunch of scallywags who ran about plundering on each side of the English-Scottish border during the middle ages. Most were clans or families (not unlike the mafia 'families' of the 20th century I suppose), carrying many names we are still familiar with today, amongst which would include: Elliott, Dixon, Thompson, Read and perhaps most notably...Armstrong (see where I'm going with this?).

Carlisle has a rich history and the Industrial Revolution saw Scottish and particularly Irish immigrants flood into the city with work provided by the railways and the textile industry. Armstrong's mother was the daughter of one such immigrant and it was this Irish heritage that gave our hero his distinctive Christian name.

I would probably be lying if my own heritage wasn't uppermost in my mind when I developed the character. It we accept that there are four main branches to our family tree (those of our four grandparents), then mine also mirror Armstrong's and many others from the area - Graham and Scott (Reiver names), and Curran and Daley (Irish immigrants).

Readers of the Armstrong stories won't be surprised to learn that - like so many writers - his creator was inspired by the Sherlock Holmes adventures. In fact Cornelius was first introduced in a Holmes pastiche prior to him taking on his own investigations (Sherlockians may even spot the odd homage to the Great Consulting Detective in the stories!).

The other inspiration behind the adventures is Carlisle itself. Without the usual Watson/Lewis side-kick, it is the city itself that takes the role of the main secondary character in the Armstrong Casebook. With its colourful history dating back more than two thousand years when it was the northern most outpost of the Roman Empire, there is always something for the writer to lean on or the detective to investigate.

The first three volumes of Inspector Armstrong's Casebook are being published between October and December 2017. More details of the stories themselves can be found on the appropriate pages of this site.


My Inspector Armstrong series is published by MX Publishing and is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USA, Amazon UK, and for free shipping worldwide BOOK DEPOSITORY.