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Another curious case for author John

By Toby Neal | Bridgnorth | Entertainment | Published:

Strange Shropshire is explored in the 11th book from Bridgnorth author John Shipley, who unearths stories of mysteries, crimes, and eccentrics.

John has dedicated his latest release, The A-Z of Curious Shropshire, to his "fantastic grandsons" Harry and Jack.

A former managing director, his first book came out in 2003, and his back catalogue includes various football histories, and also a number of westerns written under the pen names of Jake Shipley and Jack Matthews.

His latest work comes on the heels of the successful The Little Book of Shropshire.

The A-Z of Curious Shropshire is being launched at Bookshrop in Whitchurch on July 22 at 11am.

It takes the readers on a grand tour of the curious and bizarre, the strange and the unusual from Shropshire's past, such as the place where an African prince is buried, a pub reputedly haunted by the ghost of John "Mad Jack" Mytton, and a village which lays claim to have oldest cottage in Europe. Along the way there are earthquakes and floods, giants and witches, highwaymen and bandits, scandalous residents and inventors.

Born in Wednesbury in the West Midlands, John and his wife Kate moved to Bridgnorth in 1968. He is currently working on a paranormal thriller, and a couple more westerns, plus putting the finishing touches to a couple of crime thrillers.

Aside from writing he paints, mostly watercolours, sketches, and plays his seven guitars.

He began his working life as an apprentice draughtsman, rising to chief draughtsman, then to sales, progressing from salesman to sales and marketing director, and ultimately to managing director, in that time writing many technical and sales guides, promotion booklets, and articles.

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“I’d had 10 years of being managing director of a plastics manufacturer and decided to retire in 2000 to pursue my dream of becoming a writer,” he says.

He began with what he knew best – a book about how to get started in sales. It never made it into print but publishers were keen for him to write something else about business.

However the avid reader decided to follow his heart and write a novel: “I haven’t actually finished with that one yet because you can always find something to change.”

A number of John's watercolour paintings can be viewed at Charlie's Mad Hatter's Tea Rooms in The Mill Antique Centre in Bridgnorth, along with drawings of rabbits. He will also be exhibiting at the Bridgnorth and District Art Society exhibition at Bridgnorth's St Leonard's Church in August, and at the exhibition at St Mary's church in the town this month.

He is a member of the Shropshire Arts Society and of the Bridgnorth and District Arts Society.

The A-Z of Curious Shropshire is published by The History Press and costs £12.99.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of the county?s history. Lives in Telford and based at the paper?s Ketley headquarters.

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