The bedmaker who writes crime fiction

For 20 years Mark Nicholls has been a bedmaker at Trinity Hall, cleaning student and visitor rooms throughout the year. His incredible service was marked with a card from the Vice-Master and a present from the College. He joined the College in February 2002 as a bedmaker in the housekeeping team.

Mark, who lives in Waterbeach with his wife Jennifer, started his working life as a butcher, working for local supermarkets.

Writing is Mark’s great passion however, particularly crime fiction.

“I write detective stories,” said Mark, “Chemistry of Crime is one I have finished. It’s about a counterfeit operation. The members of the crew are newly released from prison, which coincides with a police investigation. It’s set in Cambridge. I have about a dozen stories on the go at the moment. I like the fact I can be in a bar and suddenly something comes into my head and I have to write it down.”

During his time at the College Mark remembers one incident with a rueful shake of the head: “I once threw a bag away that was left by a bin; I’d had a quick look in it and couldn’t see anything so thought it was rubbish. I then had to spend some time digging through the bins to find it again: apparently there was a bridesmaid’s dress in it. Happily everyone was very understanding and forgiving; and I found it!”

What else happened in 2002?

  • The week Mark started saw Timo Maas reach the UK number one slot with the To Get Down.
  • Oscars: A Beautiful Mind won Best Picture and Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to win best actress for her role in Monster’s Ball.
  • Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee was marked around the world.
  • Brazil won the World Cup.
  • US President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize while Cambridge’s John Sulston won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
  • Crime writer Ian Rankin published the Beggar’s Banquet, a collection of short stories.

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