After a hard day’s work as senior investigating officer, you might expect Bob Bridgestock would go home and put his feet up. Instead he was called out to two drug deaths and a suicide in Ravensthorpe.
But having already served almost 30 years in the force, Bob knew that this was not a nine to five job.
He joined West Yorkshire Police in 1974 at the age of 21. As a career detective he worked in the CID at every rank, rising to become Detective Superintendent, covering Kirklees and Calderdale.
In his last three years alone he took command of 26 murder investigations, 23 major incidents including shootings and attempted murders, more than 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults.
He worked on the murder of Leeds schoolgirl Sarah Harper and the Birkby house fire in which eight members of the same family, including a six month old baby, were murdered in 2002.
“A lot of people ask how I coped with some of those scenes,” Bob said. “To be honest, you don’t cope with some, you just try to put on a brave face. How could you go to some of those horrific scenes and not be affected by it?”
There were times when he was forced to abandon his wife in a restaurant or supermarket to attend a breaking case, and two hours’ sleep per night was not uncommon.
“I’m only human, and things began to take their toll,” he said. “I just got to saturation point. I was ready to leave.”
Proud of his record, but feeling that he had to get away, he and Carol moved to the Isle of Wight.
But he couldn’t quite leave his policing past behind – new friends were eager to hear his stories.
A local writing course caught their eye and within weeks Detective Inspector Jack Dylan was born. With a 47 years in policing between them – Carol was a police support worker – the husband and wife team have written three novels based on their experiences.
Bob said: “While Dylan is purely fictional I do draw on this vast reservoir of knowledge to ensure our books are totally authentic in policing, tone, observation and investigative procedures. Carol adds the side of policing that I never saw but felt in terms of support. We want to crush the myth of the maverick detective and show the reality of the women and men who stand behind their policing partners.”
The latest DI Dylan novel, White Lilies, written under the couple’s pen name RC Bridgestock, is out now.