THE GIRL FROM
THE KILLING STREETS
She needed help.
Instead, she was sent to gaol.
The Girl From the Killing Streets is fiction; the story of a young woman who confessed to murder in Belfast at the height of the Troubles. The background, however, is real. Very real. It’s a dark story, the epitome of the dark in Darkstroke. It encompasses my memories of that time.
In 1968 I was a newly qualified air traffic controller posted to Belfast Airport. As an Englishman, I understood little about Irish politics, but I learned fast. I had to. By 1972, the worst year of the so-called Troubles, I was still in Northern Ireland, now working at a military base. I daily felt the fear that sat over the province, and I had more than a few scares. I saw bombs explode from the window of my own home. The memories still sit uneasily with me.
Today, I live in the south of England, an old man I reflecting upon his life experiences. I have read numerous books about the Troubles, fiction and non-fiction. Some were good and some were bad. None of them described the atmosphere in a way that was totally meaningful for me. Either the book was too politically slanted, or it was too neutral, too clinical. So I set out to write my own book. A catharsis, if you like. I chose to write a novel – fiction – because I saw that as the best way I could describe the atmosphere that coloured everyone’s lives.
The Girl From the Killing Streets is the story of Sorcha Mulveny, a young woman banged up in Armagh Gaol for a double murder. But did she really do it? This is also the story of an English journalist given permission to interview her. His reaction to what she tells him is disbelief. Her story just doesn’t add up. His mission is to find out what really happened that day… the day that became known as Bloody Friday.
Be prepared to revisit your thoughts about the Troubles.
Be prepared to question them.