Crime writer Pauline Rowson discusses the background to the Inspector Andy Horton crime novel The Suffocating Sea

I did this Q & A session recently for the Chichester Book Club page and thought you might like to read it here. It's based on the third novel in the Andy Horton marine mystery crime series, The Suffocating Sea, which is available in paperback and as an unabridged audio book and e book.

How would you describe your crime novel, The Suffocating Sea?


The Suffocating Sea is the third in my detective series of crime novels featuring my flawed and rugged detective, Inspector Andy Horton. In the US they are called police procedurals, and I guess that is what they are, because they are centred on police investigations but they also follow the life of the main character, Andy Horton.

In this crime novel, Horton’s investigations lead him to confront not only the victim’s past, but the mystery surrounding his mother’s disappearance over thirty years ago.

Where did you get the idea for The Suffocating Sea?

I draw most of the ideas for my novels from the area where I live, the Solent. The Suffocating Sea begins in a marina, which in the novel is called Horsea Marina, although some local readers will recognise it as Port Solent. (Not having a photo of Port Solent to hand, below is a similar marina on Hayling Island, called Northney Marina).  It’s a foggy November night and Andy Horton and Sergeant Cantelli are called to investigate a death on a burning boat in the marina. This leads them into a complex case and the hunt for a killer who will stop at nothing.


Northney Marina, Hayling Island

What are the other locations in The Suffocating Sea?

The novel is set primarily in Portsmouth. Andy Horton’s investigation takes him to the Commercial Ferry Port and Old Portsmouth as well as to the back streets of Portsea.


Sailing into Portsmouth Harbour to the Commerical Ferry Port

Tell me more about your main character, Andy Horton

DI Andy Horton has had a troubled life. His mother walked out on him when he was ten and he has no idea why or where she is, or even if she is alive. Neither does he know who his father is. Abandoned by his mother, Horton has been raised in children’s homes and with foster parents. He joined the police to provide him with a much needed sense of belonging but always feels on the outside. He has a strong sense of justice and is very much an action man and a maverick who does not always conform to the rules. Just when he thinks he's found happiness, Catherine, his wife, believes an accusation of rape while Horton was working undercover (Tide of Death). Finally when exonerated it is too late to save his marriage and once again, Andy finds himself alone. In each novel in the series, Horton has a new crime to solve as he battles for access to his daughter, and the need to discover more about his past and his mother's disappearance.

You’ve set your novels in the Solent area, why?

Because it is a very vibrant and diverse area and the sea provides a great atmospheric backdrop for my novels. It is forever changing. No two days are alike. Sometimes it is calm and beautiful, sometimes wild and magnificent. It is also very dangerous and completely untameable.


Sailing out into the Solent

Does Andy Horton discover what happened to his mother in The Suffocating Sea?

Ah, now that would be telling.

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