Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Engineer turned author lifts lockdown lows through literature

Published: 12 May 2021
Professor Alec Wilson
Professor Alec Wilson

University of Southampton professor Alec Wilson found a novel way to lift his spirits during the first lockdown of 2020 – by writing his first chess detective story.

The Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Propulsions Systems Noise turned his love of chess into a fiction book that he has now self-published. 
The book, Alvaston Parkes: Chess Detective, was inspired by Alec’s need to set aside leisure time during lockdown, as well as his love of chess and his long-term admiration of the author Raymond Smullyan, who wrote The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes
Alec says: “During the first lockdown, when we started having to work from home, I found that the amount of work I was doing in terms of hours was growing and growing. Prior to that I had kept work and home quite separate, but I began to struggle to do this.  
“It was beginning to affect me in terms of sleep and in my personal and work relationships. So I started setting time aside for leisure and I looked to chess problems, as chess is a passion of mine. I developed these weird and wonderful chess problems and I began to bury them in a plot, which developed into a detective story.”  
The book was a personal project. Alec’s maths teacher from school, Nigel Hosken, tested the chess problems, and his mother, Shirley Wilson, did the proofreading.  
Alvaston Parkes: Chess Detective is now available on Amazon as a paperback or an e-book.  

Privacy Settings