An author with ‘a soft spot for Bexhill’ has released his latest novel which looks back at the 1962 Cuban missile crisis but with a very local slant.
David Gee, who grew up in Hailsham and went to school in Lewes, worked as a barman at the Cooden Beach Golf Club in 1962 during a gap year between changing courses at Birmingham University – hence the title of his book, The Bexhill Missile Crisis.
And as he explained to the Observer: “My older brother went to Bexhill Grammar, as it was in those days, and I made the hero of my first novel Shaikh-Down a lad from Bexhill.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for the town. A woman friend who commuted from Sussex to London in the ‘60s and ‘70s told me that Bexhill was the first place where she accidentally found herself at a wife-swapping party, so I’m not sure Bexhill is quite the sedate town it’s traditionally believed to be.”
The darkly comic novel sees Londoners Andrew and Evelyn driving down to spend a few days as guests of Bexhill hotelier Laurence Dickinson. At a country crossroads their car collides with a motorcycle ridden by the sinister Pilgrim and his mute friend Malcolm.
As Kennedy and Krushchev take the world to the nuclear precipice, Pilgrim and Malcolm bring chaos and humiliation to a cast of middle-class misfits and Evelyn even comes to think Pilgrim is a Horseman of the Apocalypse – on a motorbike.
The Bexhill Missile Crisis is on sale as a paperback and as an e-book. Copies are available in the De La Warr Pavilion while extracts from all three of David Gee’s books and his work-in-progress, a Hollywood novel called Howl and the Pussy-Kat, can be found on his website online at www.davidgeebooks.com.
The Bexhill Missile Crisis is now available, priced £7.99,