Myra, beyond Saddleworth

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2010
Thesis identifier
  • T13088
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This Ph.D submission includes both an original novel, Myra, Beyond Saddleworth, and a commentary on the writing of the novel. Myra, Beyond Saddleworth takes as its premise the idea that Myra Hindley did not die when the authorities said she did, but was released and given a new identity before she eventually dies of lung cancer. The narrative addresses the themes of desire, evil, and personal responsibility through Myra's interaction with the contemporary world. The novel is set against the background of the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003. A parallel narrative features Beth Hunter, who knew Hindley when they were growing up. Her son Will is a soldier drawn into war crimes by his passion for a female fellow soldier. Personal responsibility, the potentially corrupting power of passion, and criminal abuse are explored as the two characters develop in the context of the legitimated violence of war. Interwoven with the contemporary story is that, told through analepsis, of the developing relationship between Hindley and Ian Brady as it led to the Moors Murders. This is focalized through Brady, and provides a context for the past. His contemporary story offers a contrast to Hindley's lack of moral engagement with the nature of her crimes. In the commentary on the writing of Myra, Beyond Saddleworth, I deal with the challenges presented by my material, and offer an account of the narrative strategies deployed as well as a rationale for structuring it as three interwoven narratives. The essay discusses my research for the novel, its intertexts, the historical background to events, and the problems of combining fact and fiction, all of which are considered in terms of the contemporary discourse of historiographic meta-fiction. The conclusion explores the ethical problems of using transgressive material in fiction, particularly as it relates to real life characters.
Resource Type
  • This thesis was previously held under moratorium from 23rd July 2012 until 23rd July 2014.
Date Created
  • 2010
Former identifier
  • 943381