Fiction: BLITZ PAMS: POLICE AUXILIARY MESSENGERS, by John Orton. Published by Consilience Media Ltd (email: £7.99. Softback.

THE setting is South Shields during September 1940, just as the Luftwaffe’s blitzkrieg is starting. The first bombing raids have hit the town and, preparing for worse to come, the police force needs to recruit young men to volunteer as PAMs (Police Auxiliary Messengers), who would be ready to take messages on their bikes in the event of a failure of telephone lines during a raid.
Through the voice of the novel’s narrator, Mossie Hamed, a grocery delivery boy, the author recreates the life and struggles of young people in conditions where they could feel they were making a difference in a time of crisis, and recognises the many other unsung heroes on the home front.

WILSON’S TALES OF THE BORDERS, Revival Edition Volume 3. Published by the Wilson’s Tales Project. £8.50. Softback.

These Tales were a 19th century publishing sensation rarely out of print for over 100 years. They started as a weekly feature in the Berwick Advertiser, edited by John Mackay Wilson, His first Border Tale, ‘The Vacant Chair’, whose characters get unwittingly caught-up in the Napoleonic wars appeared in 1834. Further original stories were contributed over the next six years by many different authors.
In this third volume of the Revival Edition, community involvement in rediscovering these historic stories has been widened and as in past volumes, local writers have retold selected Tales in more modern style, with accompanying essays on their historic context.

SUNDERLAND IN 50 BUILDINGS, by Michael Johnson. Published by Amberley Books ( £14.99. Softback.

FROM its origins as one of the foremost centres of learning in Christendom to its industrial triumph as ‘the largest shipbuilding town in the world’, Sunderland has a rich and varied past which is embodied in the buildings that have shaped the city.
The author explores the history of this vibrant community by analysing a selection of its greatest architectural treasures, from the Saxon church of St Peter to the modern Stadium of Light. Churches, theatres, pubs and cinemas of Sunderland’s industrial heyday are examined alongside the innovative buildings of a 21st century city. The text is illustrated with colour photographs and archival images showcasing the best of Sunderland’s heritage.