Hanging on every word

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THE legend of the Hartlepool monkey has always been a talking point that strikes a chord with Poolies and people the world over.

Now the quirky tale has been immortalised in a new book written by a Frenchman. The famous story associated with the town says the people of Hartlepool hung a monkey fearing it was a French spy during the Napoleonic wars.

Now a book called Le Singe de Hartlepool, translated as The Monkey of Hartlepool, has been published.

A copy was sent as a 60th birthday present to Hartlepool restaurateur Krimo Bouabda from his friend Didier Deville, who was also a well-known chef and restaurateur in the town from 1986.

Didier returned to his native Carcassone, in France, to work four years ago, but has kept up his friendship with Krimo.

Didier visited a cartoon festival in Angouleme, around four hours’ drive from his home.

Krimo said: “The Hartlepool monkey was represented there and it was quite well-received, so Didier thought he would buy it for me and send me it.”

The hardback book is written in French, Algerian-born Krimo’s first language,- but he was eager to find out more.

So the entrepreneur emailed the author, Wilfrid Lupano, and asked if the book would eventually be translated into English.

Wilfrid replied and said the English version would be published in July by London publishing firm Knockabout.

He also said the book’s illustrator, Jeremie Moreau, will pay a visit to Hartlepool.

Krimo, who has lived in the town for 28 years and is married to Karen, said: “I explained that my friend sent me it and that I live in Hartlepool.

“I had a good read of it and it’s a really good laugh.

“The pictures are amazing – you can see the Headland, the Fish Sands, the Town Wall and St Hilda’s Church, it’s a beautifully-drawn cartoon.

“I want to go into it deeper and ask the author how he came to write the book.”

Krimo said the book even mentions Hartlepool Mayor and former H’Angus the monkey mascot Stuart Drummond.

“The whole thing is really funny, it makes the French monkey out as the victim,” said Krimo.

“I do hope they use a bit of the Hartlepool lingo when it gets translated.”

He said Didier, who returns to Hartlepool regularly, is “always taking the mickey out of the Hartlepool monkey”.

“It would be nice if it was published in English and people read it,” said Krimo.

“The Hartlepool monkey legend is known world-wide.”