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A missing person enquiry leads Manchester DCI Rick Castle to Nepal.

The Trail is a crime thriller. A missing person enquiry set in Nepal.

The Trail starts in Manchester. DCI Rick Castle is inspecting his bees when his boss phones. It’s his day off. Missing is 25 year old Calix Coniston. He’s a minor cannabis dealer. Rick shuts up the beehive, and goes to interview Calix’s parents.

Calix’s father is a Brigadier in the Ghurkhas.  Calix won a competition, the prize a trekking expedition in Nepal. He’s gone missing on the trek.

Rick flies to Nepal, and heads up the trail. Villages of friendly children and prayer flags. Gompas, dharma, dal baht. Bright blue skies, and white-capped mountains. A dead body.

Then a second.

The Trail is told from two alternating points of view, DCI Rick Castle and Calix Coniston. Rick is having psychotherapy. His dad has dementia and his sister is getting married. He develops feelings for Maggie, a police analyst. Calix is a loner, a dreamer. He’s got a parrot called Bird Bird.

We find out where Calix is, and what’s happened . . . what Calix thinks has happened.

And, slowly, Rick uncovers a conspiracy which stretches forward and back in Nepalese geopolitical history.

The Trail is a work of fiction, but casts a spotlight on the hundreds of Nepalese workers who’ve died in the last decade.

James Ellson was a police officer for 15 years, starting in London and finishing as a DI at Moss Side in Manchester. When he left the police he started writing and has been writing ever since. Six manuscripts including a memoir, From Cop to Coppicer.


He’s currently working on the sequel to The Trail.


James was a keen climber and mountaineer, and has visited Nepal many times. In 2004 he climbed 6812 metre Ama Dablam, and in 2008 soloed the Matterhorn.


He now lives on a smallholding in the Peak District with his wife. They grow fruit and veg, and keep chickens and bees. James’s passion is apple trees, and he’s aiming for 100 varieties. He runs tours of the smallholding, provides courses, and gives talks on self-sufficiency and apples.

War memorial 5 mins

Calix shoved the phone in his pocket, opened the car door and climbed out into the dark and the rain. In the distance he heard a burglar alarm and sirens, the muzak of Manchester.

On his face the cold rain felt like stabs of electricity. It suited him. Encouraged hoods up and heads down, discouraged hanging about. He looked around. Two lines of sardine-parked cars, a few spindly trees and an army of black and brown wheelie-bins. A flickering street-light revealed the slant of the rain. Behind the cars were small gardens and quiet houses. TV-blue seeped from windows.

No movement, no voices.

Too quiet?

On the car’s passenger side he popped the small square flap and pulled it open. No petrol cap. Instead, there was a compartment half the size of a shoebox. Bespoke and expensive, but a business had to be invested in to be successful – before long he’d be getting a government-sponsored trainee. In the compartment was a plastic bag. Smaller bags inside. He removed one bag and pushed the flap shut.

He walked around the back of the car, hopped up onto the pavement and headed for the meet. His last delivery of the evening and so far no problems. No IOUs, no photocopied notes, no ‘These are my five mates from the football club’. The word delivery made him think of milkmen. Trudging around the streets clinking their bottles while everyone else got on with their lives. He was a modern milkman with a crap gig of a job. No holiday or sick pay, not even a Christmas party. A violent boss to answer to. But only temporary and good money while he waited for something better to come along.

Maybe something just had.

Read more...

We've reached halfway

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Dear Supporters

We’ve hit 50 per cent in under 3 weeks which is fantastic. THANK YOU! Supporters of The Trail now include friends and family, neighbours, our electrician, the guy who fixed my computer, and even my old English teacher! Most encouraging of all, they now include strangers.

I’m writing this at my desk, listening to the cuckoo in the wood opposite.

Another question I’ve been asked…

And we're off!

Monday, 6 May 2019

Dear Supporters

The BH weekend is drawing to a close. It’s been sunny here in the Peak District, and the honeybees have been collecting brick-red pollen from the horse chestnut tree. The blossom on the apple trees looks promising.

                A BIG thank you to everyone who has supported The Trail so far. The book has reached 15% funding in the first five days which is a great start.

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Jonathan Bravo
Jonathan Bravo asked:

Thanks for the book.

James Ellson
James Ellson replied:

Hi Jonathan
Thanks for getting in touch. Glad you're looking forward to it!
Kind Regards
James

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