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Fenland mystery set in medieval Wisbech's leper house



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A local historian and author has released a new book based in the medieval past of Wisbech.

The mystery is called 'The Lazar House' and has been penned by Diane Calton Smith, who worked for the National Trust at Peckover House for over 10 years, in the town.

She explained: "Long ago in its medieval past, Wisbech had two hospitals.

Diane Calton Smith has written a new book based in a former leper hospital in Wisbech. (54134675)
Diane Calton Smith has written a new book based in a former leper hospital in Wisbech. (54134675)

"One of them was dedicated to the care of lepers. It has become the setting for my new Fenland mystery.

"During the first Covid 19 lockdown in the spring of 2020, I used to take walks close to the boundary between Wisbech and Elm, where the ancient leper house is thought to have been

"I used to imagine how the scene in front of me would have looked back in those days and that imagining led to a lot of research on the subject. Eventually it grew into a new Fenland mystery."

'The Lazar House’ is set in 1339, taking the reader back to the medieval Fens and the developing town of Wisbech with the great Norman castle at its centre.

Diane added: "Although the story line is fictional, it is based on a solid background of research about our local area and some of the people who lived here. Leper hospitals were often referred to as Lazar houses, named after the Biblical Lazarus, a fact which provided the book’s title. The plot involves plenty of detective work and the uncovering of many closely held secrets."

Previously Diane, who lives in Wisbech, has written ‘A Georgian House on the Brink’, which Diane began by exploring the early life of Peckover House and then went on to discovering what Georgian Wisbech and the Fens would have been like to live in.

‘The Lazar House’ is available at the Etcetera Community Hub in Wisbech, as well as online at www.dianecaltonsmith.co.uk, Amazon and other online stores.



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