„Stone Cold’ by Robert Swindells
Section B Task 1 (W.1)
The questions on the novel may be gone over orally in class or your teacher may
wish written answers done in class or at home
Now that you have read the opening, discuss in class what you have realised
about how this novel is narrated –that is who is telling the story.
1. How do you know when it is Shelter narrating / telling the story?
2. Why did Shelter choose that name for himself?
3. Give as many reasons as you can for Link wanting to get away from Vincent.
4. Because of Vincent, what did Link eventually do?
5. What made life as a beggar in Bradford a little more bearable for Link but
what were the problems?
6. See page 9 – Where does Shelter live and why does Shelter hate the street
beggars in that city?
7. What job had Shelter had for 29 years and why did he lose it?
8. Shelter believes there is a government plot. What does he believe that plot is
and who does he believe are all in it?
9.What are you now beginning to suspect about Shelter?
10.Why does Shelter not like these street beggars and what does Shelter say he
intends to do with them?
1. What upset Link about the Christmas present he got from his mother and
Section B Task 2 (W.2)
2. To where did Link eventually travel?
3. Study Page 13. Shelter has plans and has been preparing. What do you notice
about his style of writing? Quote 2 /3 pieces of evidence.
4. Shelter does not like cats. What impression of himself does he think having
Sappho will give others?
5. See page 14. Link arrives in London. On what did most of his money go?
6. Where could Link have gone in London to get help?
7. After going to the DSS, what was Link‟s major worry and why?
Page 17 –29
Much now becomes clear about Shelter.
1. What ONE word on page 17 does Shelter use to describe his killing and where
did he find his first victim?
2. In relation to this murder,in what ways did you find Shelter cruel and clever?
3. Link tries desperately, but unsuccessfully, to get a job. How much money has
he now left and what happens to him as a result?
4. Re-read the last paragraph of P.20. How in relation to Link has the writer now
5. Study page 21 – 22. Shelter believes he is a „soldier out of uniform, killing for
his country.‟ Explain fully why Shelter believes he is serving his country.
6. What does the above again suggest to you about Shelter‟s state of mind?
7. What does Shelter say is the only problem he faces and how does he think he
has solved it?
8. How did Link come to lose his watch?
9. Study par. 1 of page 27. What again do you notice about the language Shelter
uses? Give 2 /3 examples.
10. Why does Shelter decide he must vary his victims?
11. Who is Shelter‟s next victim and how does he trap this person?
Page 30 –38
1. In what way does the writer use black humour in Par.1 of P.30? (Your teacher
will explain the meaning of „black humour‟.)
2. Link and Ginger meet. In what ways does Ginger prove to be a good friend/
adviser / help to Link?
3. According to Ginger why will Link get no money from the DSS?
4. What does Ginger say Link‟s only option now is?
5. Near the last part of this section of the novel, for the reader, something
terrifying happens. What was this and, with quotation, explain what alerted
you to the danger.
6. What is made clear on page 38 and how does that add to the suspense of the
Page 39 – 45
1. Link tells us what it is like to live rough. Look again at page 41 – 43. Give a
list of some of the difficulties and dangers faced by people sleeping on the
2. How does Link manage to involve the reader in the descriptions of Page 41-
3. Link uses an interesting image on Page 40. He says of his begging “ I blunted
the point of my own sensitivity in the flinty soil of their indifference” With
your teacher, discuss the meaning and effectiveness of this image.
Section B Task 3 (W.2)
Page 46 – 55
1. How many people, by this stage, has Shelter killed?
2. Quote the word Shelter again used to describe his victims.
3. How does Shelter lay out the bodies and why do you think he does this?
4. What else did you find strange about his treatment of the bodies of his
5. Link and Ginger are now sleeping in Probyn‟s (Captain Cook‟s) boat at
Camden Lock and begging in that area. Why might this worry the reader?
(See page 46)
6. Why does the story about „Doggy Bag‟ upset Link so much and what , as
reader, did it make you suspect?
7. Why does Ginger say that the authorities do not impose regulations regarding
the conditions on Captain Hook‟s boats? Describe these conditions.
Page 56 – 63
1. To whom do you think Shelter is referring on page 56 and for what is
2. See page 57 – 58. Why are things so bad for Link and Ginger at this time?
3. What sentence did you find most frightening on page 58 and why?
4. Notice paragraph 1 of page 61. Again what do you notice about the
language Shelter uses?
5. How had Shelter tricked Ginger into going to Shelter‟s flat?
6. To fool Ginger, what other preparations had Shelter arranged in his flat?
7. What does Shelter now plan to do?
Page 64 –70
Link searches for Ginger, thinking he might just have gone off or he might be in
1. Link speaks to a news vendor who saw Ginger at the spot Link and Ginger
were to have met. What does this man tell Link?
Link that morning meets Gail in a café and takes her under his wing.
2. What did Gail tell Link about how she came to be living on the streets?
3. Why do you think Shelter bought 4 pairs of army boots and why from
4. What name has Shelter given to the group of people he has killed and in what
way would he see this as a suitable name?
5. By Spring how many people has Shelter murdered?
Page 71 –80
1. On page 71 Link says that when you are homeless / living on the streets, you
are an “outsider” What examples does Link offer?
Section B Task 4 (W.1)
2. Give two ways by which Shelter ensures he is not following a pattern that
might help the police find him.
3. In what ways does being with Gail make Link feel normal again?
4. What TWO things about Gail does Link question and why do you think he so
readily accepts what Gail tells him?
5. This time with Gail has been lovely for Link. How on page 75 does the writer
suddenly create a darker mood and create suspense?
6. What information had Tanya‟s (Toya‟s) father discovered and from whom?
What action had the father taken and with what result?
Page 81 – 94
1. What suggests that Toya‟s father had gone to the right house?
2.What does Nick tell Link that leads Link to go to the police about Ginger ?
3.What information do the police give Link? (Answer in some detail)
4.From Shelter we now learn of his interview by the police when they came to his
Study pages 85 –86 and give as many reasons as you can why you believe Shelter
handled the police cleverly.
5.What problems do Link and Gail face in tracking down the mystery man they
have been told about?
Alone, Gail manages to get the address from Captain Hook and she and Link watch
the block of flats at 9,Mornington Place. To himself, Link admits that he has
doubts about Gail. Next day Link and Gail return to Mornington Place.
6.What one detail tells the reader that it is Shelter that Link and Gail have found?
7.“And that‟s how I came to be alone in Mornington Place” What had happened
that led Link to be alone there?
7. What about Shelter‟s behaviour fooled Link, and how did Shelter manage to
lureLink into his flat?
Page 94 – 100
1.At first, like the other victims, Link trusts Shelter. Explain what suddenly made
Link realise that he was in danger.
2.Look again at pages 95-97. This is perhaps the most terrifying sequence of
events in the novel. What in particular did you find most horrifying and why?
3.In the very last moment we see Shelter, how does the writer underline his
4.Look carefully at the last two pages. Did you think it was an effective ending to
the novel? Explain why you felt as you did
Section B Task 5 (Critical Response)
Section B Task 6 Talk (Group Discussion)