Wednesday 13 July 2011

What's Tha Up To? Memories of a Yorkshire Bobby by Martyn Johnson

My latest review book from New Books Magazine was What's Tha Up To? - Memories of a Yorkshire Bobby by Martyn Johnson.  

This one is due for publication on 15 September by Sphere Books.

I live about 40 minutes drive away from Sheffield and visit the city regularly.  We often go to the theatre and concerts in the city centre and of course I love to shop at Meadowhall.  I was really pleased to have a copy of this book for review - I love to read about places that I'm familiar with.

Since leaving the police force, Martyn Johnson has become quite famous in South Yorkshire.  He does talks and tours about the history of the area and was a regular on Radio Sheffield with Tony Capstick.

My thoughts on the book:

Martyn Johnson joined the Sheffield Police force when he was 19.  In this book Martyn tells the tale of a real-life 'bobby on the beat'.  Before the days of radio, cars or computers, Martyn patrolled the streets of the Attercliffe district of Sheffield night and day.
We hear about his first dead body, chasing robbers - on front and later on his bike - his bike being 'stolen' - in fact it was painted pink and yellow by his colleague's daughters!   There are family disputes, there are tragedies and there is laughter.   
Martyn Johnson
It is clear from the writing that Martyn Johnson is a compassionate man, a man who joined the force because he cared about people and about the city of Sheffield.  That's not to say that he let people get away with things though - he could hold his own and had many injuries to show for it - as did the criminals who crossed his path.   There are times when the book is incredibly sad, Martyn had to deal with some awful tragedy during his career, but there are also times when the reader will laugh out loud.  The incident with the mangle had me chuckling for a good couple of hours after I'd read it!
For those of us who are familiar with modern day Sheffield, this is a great way of finding out some of the history of the city - pre-Meadowhall and the Arena - the days of local cafes and grocer shops on each corner.   The days when the local bobby would be offered a bacon butty in every cafe and a pint of beer in every pub on his beat.  
This is a heart-warming read, well written with compassion and humour.


  1. Sounds good Anne and I know what you mean about reading about places you know and visit, I think that why Scottish authors are likeable for me, when they mention places I grew up in it brings so many memories or it is somewhere I can go x

  2. I don't know much about the English police system, but would like to know more, so this appeals to me.

  3. I have read some great books like this. Being in the police it amuses me even more as I love to hear the stories. Try reading "Now then lad - Tales of a country Bobby" & "You're coming with me lad" by Mike Pannett, if you like this one. He's a PC who's come from the Met to Yorkshire, and it's a really good light hearted read.