From radical dissenters to sell-out stars
Community editor Mort Smith reviews a new book about some of the more well known residents of the Chilterns
N2012, DJ Kelly published two small volumes about residents of Chalfont St Peter, with all profits going to The Celfunde Inheritance, the local history and heritage group. The booklets, which highlighted some of the village’s significant, worthy and downright disreputable residents, outsold ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ at Chalfont Books (which sadly is no longer with us) and proved particularly popular around Christmas time.
Earlier this year, encouraged by the huge amount of interest shown in local history, the novelist and volunteer researcher, herself a resident of Chalfont St Peter, published another timely book of local interest: The Chalfonts and Gerrards Cross at War.
A series of talks and slideshows to accompany the books also proved popular with community groups, libraries and Women’s Institute groups around the county.
Ms Kelly’s latest book – The Famous and Infamous of the Chalfonts and District – is an expanded version of her earlier booklets, covering a wider geographical area of seven villages and featuring no fewer than 228 people who have achieved fame and distinction – or, indeed, notoriety.
In this illustrated paperback, decorated heroes of land, sea and air battles rub shoulders with a multiple murderer, an atomic secrets spy, a leading Nazi official and a big-time swindler (who, incidentally, was the father of one of Britain’s best-loved thriller writers).
From radical religious dissenters, talented sportspeople, Albert Hall sell-out musicians, and an early British Socialist who inspired Karl Marx, to Britain’s most notorious imprisoned Fascist politician – the villages of the Chalfonts, Gerrards Cross, Denham, Fulmer and Hedgerley have seen them all.
Signed copies of the book are now on sale at Gerrards Cross Book Shop and at Office Direct in Chalfont St Peter, at £12.99 each.
Ms Kelly is one of 40 authors appearing at the Indie Author Fair at Chorleywood Literary Festival on Sunday at the British Legion Hall, between 2pm and 5pm (see www.cwlitfest.org/fringe.html). She is also participating in the Richmond Literary Festival, as guest speaker at The Tea Box, in Paradise Road, on the evening of November 20 (see www.richmondliterature.com).
The front cover of DJ Kelly’s latest book about a variety of people with connections to Bucks