Heartbeat: the Constable books back in print
The early episodes of Nicholas Rhea's series of Constable books have become collector's items - both in their own right and because they contain the seeds of television's much loved Heartbeat series. But they continue to be in demand by readers who don't care about the hunt for treasures in secondhand bookshops, but just want to enjoy these stories of the life of a country copper. In 2008, independent publisher Áccent Press reissued of some of those hard-to-find titles in a smart Heartbeat livery, but these, too, are now out of print. Endeavour Press picked up the baton, and has reissuing many of those early titles as Kindle eBooks, with paperback edtitions following on (see the full list of Constable books for an overview. So now it is easier than ever to trace Heartbeat back to its roots.
The Constable Files
The latest reappearance of tales from Aidensfield come under the banner 'The Constable Files': two inviting titles, comprising three volumes of Constable Nick's memoirs. How? The clue is in the title: Constable at the Double is an anthology title, containing both Constable around the Village and Constable across the Moors. See below for details of both stories.
Also reissued in the 'Constable Files' series, Constable around the Houses.
Constable around the Village
Nick Rhea is busy settling into his role as a Police Constable in Aidensfield, getting to grips with rural life and his new colleagues and neighbours.
P.C. Rhea maintains his charismatic approach through the village's many incidents, whether it's the historic tradition of the First Footing on New Year's Eve, the scandal of an un-dug grave, or a case of a missing child.
Rhea soon finds himself facing a canine crisis: Farmer Lowe's overworked sheepdog is feigning deafness, and without the dog, the cows cannot be milked, bringing his farming business to a screeching halt. Meanwhile, five sheep turn up dead, and Sidney Chapman's dog is accused of the crime, much to his dismay.
Can Rhea salvage Aidensfield's farming future, not to mention the reputations of two dogs, while juggling his other cases?
Constable around the Village was originally published by Robert Hale in 1981, and by the same publisher in the Constable at the Double omnibus edition in 1988. It was also reissued by Áccent Press. It is currently available:
Constable across the Moors
Police Constable Nicholas Rhea has come to know and love the host of characters who live and work on the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors.
The amiable constable handles every encounter with his characteristic humour and professionalism, whether he's investigating a plot to scare away a troublesome suitor or helping a neighbour return his late wife's ashes to her beloved moors. But when Ted Williamson's sheep start disappearing, can Rhea find the culprit without making enemies of the farmers of Yorkshire?
The book is packed with stories of a country flavour and it provides a colourful picture of police work in a large rural district. There is humour and pathos and above all a love of human beings and concern for their welfare.
Constable across the Moors was originally published by Robert Hale in 1981, and by the same publisher in the Constable at the Double omnibus edition in 1988. It was also reissued by Áccent Press. It is currently available:
Constable in the Dale
In the spectacular North Yorkshire countryside, Constable Nick's roles are as varied as the preoccupations of his often eccentric villagers.
He finds himself called upon as detective to recover lost sheep; as crime prevention officer to guard giant gooseberries; as legal adviser in the Best Kept Village competition, and sympathetic social worker to those in distress.
Constable Nick is invaluable.
His many hilarious anecdotes include a brush with some bright yellow pigs and the account of the invitation to be best man at a wedding because he had to arrest the groom's new mother-in-law.
Curious, funny and poignant, this reveals something of the rich diversity of village life and how Constable Nick continues to realise his place within it.
Constable in the Dale is a heartwarming and good-natured tale of into the relationship between a copper and his community. It was first published by Robert Hale in 1983; it was reissued in 1996 as a Heartbeat tie-in edition and as a Heartbeat Omnibus edition (combined with Constable on the Hill and Constable on the Prowl; the Áccent Press edition was published in 2008 - and it is now once more available in paperback and Kindle editions.
Constable by the Sea
In the fifth book of the Constable series, Nicholas Rhea continues his highly popular police stories - this time with a seaside flavour.
As a seasonal break from his usual village beat on the North Yorks Moors, young Police Constable Rhea finds himself involved with holiday-makers and their problems. As well as the normal seaside duties, how does he cope with a man who has lost his false teeth in the sea and another who wants to give away thousands of pounds when drunk? Then there's the stray Labrador that thinks he's a police dog and accompanies police officers on night patrols, and the anxious fisherman who daren't tell his wife that he owns a racehorse. These and a galaxy of other delightful characters are encountered by our rural bobby as he goes about his business in this new environment.
Constable by the Sea was first published by Robert Hale in 1985; the Áccent Press edition was published on November 3rd 2008.
Constable along the Lane
The life of a countryside policeman is certainly a hectic one.
For Constable Nick, his police duties may not be as fraught with danger as his city counterparts, but he is certainly kept on his toes...
From obnoxious cleaners, to lost children and even the occasional arsonist - being a local policeman means never a dull day and Nick increasingly has his work cut out.
At the same time, the people of Aidensfield and the surrounding areas never fail to amuse with their eccentric ways...
They can even be a great help - say when the local bus driver helps stop a car thief!
With a glider crashing into a thatched cottage, or the awkwardness of a pig thief and their stolen pig giving birth in one of the cells, village life is nothing but eventful.
And for Constable Nick, raising a young family, dealing with awkward colleagues - and even the odd crime - it's all in the day's work.
Constable along the Lane is as enlightening as it is amusing; sure to keep you entertained and intrigued all at once.
Constable along the Lane was first published by Robert Hale in 1986; the Áccent Press edition was published on November 3rd 2008. Other editions, all of which are out of print, include an ISIS audiobook, read by Christopher Kay (ISBN: 978-1-85496-697-1); a Magna Large Print edition published in October 1987 (ISBN: 978-1850572275); and a Heartbeat Omnibus edition, which also included Constable through the Meadow.
Constable through the Meadow
As Rhea's beat is modernised, with the replacement of his police bike by a mini-van, Nick gets more than he bargained for as his work draws him into closer contact with villagers, in more ways than one!
There are compromising positions aplenty in this next charming installment of Aidensfield life, as Nick finds himself lost in dense fog and runs across a couple of illicit lovers trapped in their car. He advises the village grocer about his very respectable lady shoplifter and discovers how Farmer Owens copes with his nagging wife. In this volume Rhea provides a charming portrayal of the village bobby and genuine North country folk.
Constable through the Meadow was first published by Robert Hale in 1988; the Áccent Press edition was published on January 5th 2009.
Constable in Disguise
Britain's most popular bobby turns detective!
A delightful account of Constable Rhea's foray into the CID, whose initials are said to mean 'Constable in Disguise'. Young Rhea is appointed as an Aide to the CID, an essential part of every constable's training. Adopting civilian clothes, he joins the Criminal Investigation Department to learn about the work of the men in plain clothes.
Asked to keep a watchful eye on a house thought to be used as a brothel, Rhea quietly climbs the roof and sends a tile crashing through the window. When the woman resident and her five brothers set about the neighbours for causing the damage, the police turn out in force and arrest everybody... Meanwhile Rhea lies low on the roof.
Investigating a series of housebreakings, the CID visit a local snooker hall. There the Detective Sergeant challenges two strong suspects to a match on the understanding that if he wins, they will admit to the crime.
Packed with stories that reveal the joys and sorrows of country folk, Constable in Disguise creates a colourful picture of Rhea's foray into detective work in North Yorkshire.
Constable in Disguise was first published by Robert Hale in 1989; the Áccent Press edition was published on February 2nd 2009, and is now out of print. It has now been reissued in a new Kindle edition, with accompanying paperback.
Go to the full list of Constable books or to the Books main page