Retired Cromer journalist gets late wife’s novel published to meet a death bed pledge
A retired journalist has helped write the final chapter of a story close to his heart - the poignant publishing of a novel penned by his late wife which fulfils a pledge he made to her as she lay dying.
David Blyth, a former reporter and print worker for the News at Cromer, provided the inspiration for wife Barbara's book, after he got tip-offs about alleged drug smuggling in north Norfolk.
The story never saw the light of day, but was the spark for Barbara's own fictional writings eight years ago - and which saw David using his keyboard skills to type the tale as it developed.
It also initially failed to find a publisher, but last year as Barbara's life ebbed away in their Cromer home after a long illness Mr Blyth promised her the book would become a reality.
'When she lay there totally out of it, I said 'what shall I do when you are gone?'
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'When I suggested getting her book published she moved her arms, opened her eyes and tried to say something. It had such an effect on her I decided to devote myself to the task,' said Mr Blyth.
He has now had the 560-page story printed through publishers Authorhouse, and given most of them to family and friends. A copy is in the local library and others available to buy through bookshops and a website.
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Barbara took the germ of an idea from David's work to develop it into A Quick Fix, which weaves together, through a drug smuggling plot, the lives of a diverse set of characters.
They include the beautiful wife of a MEP trying to save the family's country estate, her brother who helps run a flying school and becomes an innocent courier, a crab fisherman looking to boost his pension, the owners of a cargo vessel struggling to stay in business, and an international Mr Big - who are all lured by the dark and dangerous world of drug smuggling in search of instant cash.
Mr Blyth, now 67, worked for the News and its sister papers for 18 years as a printer then another 10 as journalist before retiring on health grounds. He said he was thrilled that the book was now out and he had kept his promise.
Barbara, the daughter of a Norwich cobbler had a varied career ranging from running an agricultural gang, shop work, and even poaching to help put meat on the family table - exploits which were immortalised by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on his A Cook on the Wild Side TV programme.
After she married David in 1989 she supported his career, sometimes going on breaking news shouts armed with a camera, and discovering her own penchant for writing.
The novel involved extra research including a trip to Amsterdam, and a wish to highlight the dangers of drugs to the victims caught in its web - which she witnessed in her home town.
In an author's note Barbara said drug trafficking was catching more and younger victims every day, adding: 'Governments are slowly awakening to the dangers and have yawned their desire to work together to stamp out the evil, but as yet they have hardly got a foot out of bed. To them I say ' This is world war three'.
'As long as there are customers there will be supplies so if a witch hunt is required perhaps ordinary decent folk should be encouraged to tell what they know.'
A Quick Fix by Barbara Blyth costs �18.95 from www.authorhouse.co.uk