PEACEFUL MARKET TOWNS.
WELCOME TO AYLESBURY VALE
The Home of Archer and Baines
The Archer and Baines novels are set in Aylesbury Vale in the Chilterns and feature Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer and Detective Sergeant Dan Baines.
Map courtesy of Vale Web Marketing Ltd at http://www.aylesburyvale.net/
The Vale is a particularly beautiful part of England’s northern Home Counties, situated within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Much of the land is rolling agricultural landscape. Ivinghoe Beacon, although not the highest point in the Chilterns – that honour goes to Haddington Hill near Wendover – is a prominent landmark and marks the starting point of the Icknield Way to the east and the Ridgeway trail to the west, both beloved of walkers.
But there is nothing cosy about the stories: they are police procedurals, and the crimes are as brutal as in any big city. In the end, murder is murder.
Aylesbury Vale incorporates most of Buckinghamshire, but also includes parts of neighbouring Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Archer and Baines are attached to the Aylesbury Vale division of Thames Valley Police and so their investigations are mainly confined to Buckinghamshire.
They work out of Aylesbury Police Station in the county’s administrative capital, which has a population of some 75,000. Wendover and Princes Risborough are smaller towns featured in the books, home to around 7,500 and 8,000 respectively.
Wendover Clock Tower
The Vale’s population centres consist of a number of market towns and villages. The Vale that features in the Archer and Baines novels is something of a dark reflection of the original. The main towns mentioned in the books are very much on the map, but some of the street names have been altered, and a number of the villages in the books are fictitious, but loosely based on real places. Readers who know the area regularly tell me they not only recognise the Vale I describe, but even think they know where the fictitious locations actually are. I’m saying nothing!
Check out the Archer & Baines books here.