Saturday, 4 December 2021

Perfect crime reading to keep out the cold - Crime at Christmas - forget the John Lewis Christmas Advert here's mine

Forget the John Lewis Christmas advert - here's mine! Crime at Christmas. Perfect crime reading for Christmas and beyond. My December set crime novels, featuring the enigmatic DI Andy Horton in THE SUFFOCATING SEA and FATAL CATCH and Scotland Yard's Inspector Ryga, December 1950 at Newhaven Port, East Sussex in DEATH IN THE HARBOUR. For all my crime, mystery, thrillers visit my website rowmark.co.uk or simply google me!

Thursday, 2 December 2021

The inspiration behind mystery thriller IN FOR THE KILL by Pauline Rowson

This is from a talk I gave some time ago to an audience in Hampshire talking about the inspiration behind one of my very early mystery thrillers, IN FOR THE KILL

For Alex Albury the nightmare that destroyed his life will only end in death; his or his tormentor’s. 


"A change of direction at every turn. Keep notes on all the players. If you like Jeffery Deaver, you'll love this story. The best mystery I've ever read by a female author." Amazon 5*


"Rowson weaves terrific plots around memorable characters. Her writing is as sharp as a punch in the ribs. Attention-grabbing. Compulsive. Next one please!" Hampshire Life Magazine.    

Monday, 29 November 2021

Are crime writers psychotic?


The relationship between writers and their characters takes many forms. Some of my characters irritate me, others entertain, some make me feel cuddly and comfortable, while others I positively loath. And some I love warts and all even my alpha male Detective Superintendent Steve Uckfield, head of the Major Crime Team, with all his disgusting habits.  But whatever the relationship between the creator and characters it should never be dull.

It’s easy to become a little bit obsessed with your characters. Oh, alright very obsessed and more so when writing a series because the main cast of characters are with me all the time, they are as much part of my life as real people, they occupy my thoughts throughout the day, but strangely enough I never dream of them. Perhaps there is hope for me yet and I’m not about to be carted off to the insane asylum.

I think about my characters a great deal. Where are they? What will they do next?  How will they react to this or that situation?  What is happening in their private lives as well as in the job?  What is their relationship with their colleagues? This is all good stuff because their actions, feelings and motivations drive the plot, which can be annoying especially if I think I’ve got the plotline all nicely worked out. They have the habit of throwing me right off course even to the extent that often when I thought I knew who ‘done it’, I discover the killer is someone completely different.  Do I hear the distant siren of an ambulance approaching?

Thinking about your characters is not the same as thinking about your ‘real’ friends or the people you know because with your characters you are in control, you create their lives. Although, as I said, they can develop a habit of doing something that surprises you.

Many writers are familiar with the old adage plot is character and character is plot, which makes it almost impossible to answer the question readers often ask me, what comes first plot or character? The two are inevitably and intrinsically intertwined. So before you call for the men in white coats I assure you I am quite sane, well as sane as any writer (and especially a crime writer can be – after all we kill people for a living). Creating characters and their lives is a fascinating game, as many children know, and perhaps that's what a lot of us writers are - kids at heart. It’s either that or we’re closet villains or psychopaths. I know which I’d prefer.


Pauline Rowson's gripping, entertaining crime novels full of twists and turns

 

Pauline Rowson's crime novels
If you enjoy reading gripping, fast-paced crime novels full of twists and turns, compelling and multi-layered with great characters and stories that keep you guessing right to the end then Pauline Rowson's crime novels are right up your street. 

Set against the back drop of the ever changing sea on the South Coast of England. 



Where to buy Pauline Rowson's books

Saturday, 27 November 2021

In for the Kill, compelling mystery thriller of identity theft, fraud & murder

In this video I'm talking to an audience in Hampshire about the inspiration behind one of my early mystery thrillers, IN FOR THE KILL - Identity theft, fraud and murder. "A change of direction at every turn. If you like Jeffery Deaver, you'll love this." Amazon 5 stars

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Policing and detection in Inspector Ryga's 1950 set mysteries


Death in the Nets by Pauline RowsonDEATH IN THE NETS is the third in the Inspector Ryga 1950s set mystery series, published on 4 October 2021 in paperback, as an e book and on Amazon Kindle. It is set in the fishing port of Brixham, Devon where Scotland Yard's Inspector Ryga investigates the death of a man discovered tangled in fishing nets in the harbour.

DEATH IN THE COVE is the first in the Inspector Ryga 1950s set mystery series, set on the Royal island of Portland, Dorset with DEATH IN THE HARBOUR number two, set in the port of Newhaven, East Sussex..

The 1950s is a fascinating period where memories of the war are very strong, and the fear of more world conflicts haunt people. Society and policing in the 1950s was vastly different to today, no mobile phones, no dashing about in high speed cars and no computers so it was extremely interesting to research and write.


Policing and detection in 1950 - how the public communicated with the police, reporting in; women in the police, and police vehicles.


Communicating with the police and reporting in


There were, of course, no mobile phones in 1950 and indeed few households had telephones. Mackenzie Trench Police Boxes appeared in London in 1929 and could also be used by the general public. They were a vital communications link. The boxes could be used to report fire, or to summon an ambulance and report crime.

The light on top of a police box illuminated red and could be activated by the station or by a member of the public to attract a police officer. Officers therefore were encouraged to stay within line-of-sight of their Police Box for as much time as possible, although the top of the Police Box lamp contained a gong mechanism which also provided an audible means of attracting attention.

Women in the police force

Between 1939 and 1949 the number of police women rose from 246 to 1148, whereas in 1939, 138 out of 183 forces employed no police women

In 1932 Lilian Wyles was appointed the first woman Chief Inspector in the police force. She joined London's Metropolitan Police in 1919 and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in 1933.

In 1950 women police officers were still fairly rare but a growing number. It wasn't until 1948 that the first two policewomen in the Glamorgan Constabulary, WPC1 Elsie Baldwin and WPC 2 Florence Knight, were appointed on the 13th March. And Liverpool City Police only appointed police women in 1948 (Rawlings, 2002: 199).

On 1 January 1949 the British Transport Commission Police (BTP) was created, formed from the four old railway police forces, canal police and several minor dock forces. In 1950 the first female BTP sergeants were appointed when WPC's Snell (Paddington) and Barrett (Liverpool Street) were promoted.

Police vehicles

In rural areas this often only consisted of a ‘Bobby on a bicycle’ but in towns where there was a sergeant or inspector they often used their own cars for which they received an allowance.

and larger areas police vehicles were used. In the 1930s the Met was using Area Wireless Cars’ crewed by CID officers and trained drivers and operators (you can see these in operation in some British films of the period). In more rural areas motor patrols would arrive at a phone box at a fixed time and check in. By the end of the 1940s car fleets began to expand equipped with VHF wireless but not all had them, not in fact until the mid-1960s.

A very different time and way of policing from today and a joy to research and write about.

The Inspector Ryga Mysteries


Death in the Cove an Inspector Alun Ryga MysteryDEATH IN THE COVE is Inspector Ryga's first solo investigation outside of London, where he is despatched to solve the mystery of why a man in a pin-striped suit is found murdered in an isolated cove on the Royal Island of Portland in Dorset. Here he meets war photographer, Eva Paisley, for the first time. Ryga quickly realises that her observations could provide the breakthrough he needs in a complex murder investigation and the answer to the haunting circumstances that have sent the man in the pinstriped suit to his death.



Death in the Harbour by Pauline RowsonThe second Inspector Ryga mystery, DEATH IN THE HARBOUR is set in the port of Newhaven, East Sussex where Ryga has to solve a puzzling and disturbing case of why an ordinary police constable was murdered and his sensible law-abiding wife has gone missing.






Death in the Nets by Pauline RowsonNumber three in the Inspector Ryga series DEATH IN THE NETS is set in the small fishing town of Bridport, Devon. It's a cold wet January night in 1951, the body of a man stabbed through the heart, is found tangled up in fishing nets in Brixham Harbour, Devon. After a series of startling revelations, Ryga is tasked to discover why the dead man who left the town eleven years ago has returned and why someone hated him enough to murder him.





The Inspector Ryga mysteries are published in paperback, ebook, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google Books and Apple Books.


DEATH IN THE COVE and DEATH IN THE HARBOUR are also available as audio books on Audible, and from B7 Media, narrated by Jonathan Rhodes.


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Getting to grips with time frames in novels

 

Tide of Death the first DI Andy Horton by Pauline RowsonTime frames in novels, and particularly when writing a series, as with the DI Andy Horton novels, the Art Marvik mystery thrillers and my new 1950 set mystery series featuring Scotland Yard detective Inspector Ryga , are a tricky thing. There is ‘real time’ and there is‘fictional time’.

In ‘real time’ I write a DI Andy Horton and either an Art Marvik or Inspector Ryga mystery in a year whereas in ‘fictional time’ the novels are set over a shorter time frame.

Andy Horton was thirty nine when I created him in Tide of Death in 2006 so by now he should be fifty three. However, in ‘fictional time’ fifteen novels later, he is only forty. The novels take place not over fourteen years but over eighteen months, which means for DI Andy Horton there are an awful lot of murders in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, making it worse than  Midsomer Murder on a good day!


It's said that Agatha Christie regretted making Hercule Poirot sixty when she created him because by the time she finished writing about him he would in ‘real time’ have been about a hundred and eight! In ‘fictional time’ Poirot stayed more or less the same age. I'm not saying that will happen to DI Andy Horton, he may age yet.

A Deadly Wake DI Andy Horton 15 by Pauline Rowson
Following 'fictional time' allows the author to develop the back story. In DI Andy Horton's case it allows me to chart his marital break-up, his fight to gain access to his daughter, and his search for the truth behind his mother’s disappearance when he was child.  There are now fourteen in the Inspector Andy Horton mystery series with number fifteen A DEADLY WAKE due to be published on 2 June 2020. In this last one Andy finally discovers the truth behind his mother's disappearance.


With Art Marvik there is his struggle to adjust to civilian life and, from the second in the series, DANGEROUS CARGO, there is the mystery behind the death of his marine archaeologist parents’ when he was seventeen, thought to be an accident but was it? Marvik has a new mystery to solve in the third in the series, Lost Voyage and finally discovers the truth of his parents deaths in DEAD SEA (4).

In my contemporary crime novels I try to avoid mentioning the current year if I possibly can, leaving it to the imagination of the reader. The other problem with real time is that technology changes and so too do the names of police departments as they are merged, re-organised and cut back. In the DI Andy Horton novels I started off talking about the Serious Organised Crime Agency which in October 2013 became the National Crime Agency.  It becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with all the name changes and often by the time the novel is published some of the police departments mentioned no longer exist in that format and that name.

Technology also advances so being specific can in one novel look bang-up-to-date and yet in another written a year or two later look grossly dated. MySpace, which was once all the rage, has been overtaken by Facebook in popularity, which  in turn may very well also fade into the distance just as the iPad could become but a distant memory as something else replaces it. A powerful argument I think to create a police or murder mystery crime series set in the past which is what I have done with my 1950s set Inspector Ryga mysteries. Here I am specific about the year because it is an integral part of the crime novels.


Death in the Cove a 1950 Inspector Ryga MysteryDEATH IN THE COVE is set in 1950 England, reeling from the aftermath of war with austerity and rationing biting hard. Newly promoted to detective, Inspector, Ryga from Scotland Yard, is on his first solo investigation outside of London, to solve the mystery of why a man in a pin-striped suit is found murdered in an isolated cove on the Island of Portland in Dorset.

The 1950s is a fascinating period where memories of the war are very strong, and the fear of more world conflicts haunt people. Society and policing in the 1950s was vastly different to today, no mobile phones, no dashing about in high speed cars and no computers so it was extremely interesting to research and write. 


Pauline Rowson's gripping, entertaining crime novels full of twists and turns

Pauline Rowson's crime novels
If you enjoy reading gripping, fast-paced crime novels full of twists and turns, compelling and multi-layered with great characters and stories that keep you guessing right to the end then Pauline Rowson's crime novels are right up your street. 

Set against the back drop of the ever changing sea on the South Coast of England. 


Where to buy Pauline Rowson's books


Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Death in the Cove - Inspector Ryga Mystery (1) For lovers of mysteries without the gory details. Brings the atmosphere and era alive"


Death in the Cove, an Inspector Alun Ryga 1950 crime novel"For lovers of mysteries without the gory details. Brings the atmosphere and era alive"

 

England 1950, struggling to come to terms with peace in the grip of austerity and rationing.  

The body of a man wearing a pinstriped suit is found in a secluded bay on Portland Island, Dorset. Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Alun Ryga is sent to investigate. 


A totally gripping, atmospheric crime mystery full of twists and turns.

 

What readers say about Pauline Rowson's gripping crime novels

'A great read and one I recommend to any crime fans.' BH Living Magazine
 

"Pauline Rowson is one of my favourite authors, her books are always well plotted with decent characters who you can identify with" Amazon Customer

"Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Kept me enthralled to the final chapter." Amazon Customer

"Ryga studied the face of the dead man with interest. Death no longer had the power to shock him. He’d seen too much of it. That didn’t mean he didn’t feel sorrow, pity, anger or despair, or sometimes all four emotions and in such a swift succession that they became one. This time he felt none of these, only professional curiosity.”


When the body of a man dressed in a pinstriped suit is discovered by war photographer, Eva Paisley, in a secluded bay on Portland Island, Dorset, Inspector Alun Ryga of Scotland Yard is sent to investigate.  Recently promoted, the thoughtful, observant Ryga, is on his first solo investigation outside of London, and is keen to prove his worth. Ignoring the warnings of the local police inspector, and the Dorset Chief Constable, that his trust in Eva Paisley is misjudged, Ryga quickly realises that her observations could provide the breakthrough he needs in a complex murder investigation and the answer to the haunting circumstances that have sent the man in the pinstriped suit to his death. 

 

SHOP NOW 

 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

DEATH IN THE COVE, a gripping murder mystery with lots of twists and turns

 


"For lovers of mysteries without gory details. Brings the atmosphere and era alive."

England 1950, struggling to come to terms with peace in the grip of austerity and rationing. The body of a man in a pinstriped suit is found in a secluded bay on Portland Island, Dorset. Scotland Yard's Inspector Ryga is sent to investigate.

Recently promoted, Ryga, is on his first solo investigation outside of London, and is keen to prove his worth. Ignoring the warnings of the local police inspector, and the Dorset Chief Constable, that his trust in Eva Paisley, a former war photographer who discovered the body, is misjudged, Ryga quickly realises that her observations could provide the breakthrough he needs in a complex murder investigation and the answer to the haunting circumstances that have sent the man in the pinstriped suit to his death.


“Ryga studied the face of the dead man with interest. Death no longer had the power to shock him. He’d seen too much of it. That didn’t mean he didn’t feel sorrow, pity, anger or despair, or sometimes all four emotions and in such a swift succession that they became one. This time he felt none of these, only professional curiosity.”

From the author of the fast-paced, gripping DI Andy Horton novels and the action-packed Art Marvik mystery thrillers .


"Pauline Rowson is one of my favourite authors, her books are always well plotted with decent characters who you can identity with" Soulboy


"Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Kept me enthralled to the final chapter." Julia


Start reading today and escape into a gripping 1950s mystery

 

Monday, 8 November 2021

Research, writing and ship recycling in Marvik Mystery Thriller LOST VOYAGE

My research for the Art Marvik mystery thriller 3, LOST VOYAGE took me into the murky waters of the ship recycling business.

Lost Voyage an Art Marvik Mystery by Pauline Rowson

 "Plenty of action, I didn't want to put the book down. A good read for mystery thriller fans." Net Galley


Undercover investigator, Art Marvik faces a desperate battle to save others from a ruthless assassin who will stop at nothing in order to protect the secret of the Mary Jo’s last voyage from ever being exposed


 


In LOST VOYAGE, the Mary Jo, a salvage tug, went missing in 2003 on its way to Newfoundland where it was to tow an obsolete Russian cruise ship back to Britain for recycling. Some decades later someone claims to have found the Mary Jo locked in the Arctic ice, it is a claim that sparks a series of murders and Marvik’s mission for the UK’s Police  National Intelligence Marine Squad is to discover the secret of the Mary Jo and why a ruthless assassin has embarked on a slaying spree to prevent it from being revealed.

What I gleaned about ship recycling for LOST VOYAGE mystery thriller

Ship recycling is centuries old. The fabric of a ship, wood in the past and steel today, has always held considerable value but ship recycling is a very complex, highly competitive business. It is also is a highly dangerous occupation, it’s not easy cutting apart steel structures and many ships contain toxic material such as plastics, asbestos and radioactive material. There is therefore also a cost to the environment. When it comes to where the ship is to be recycled there is also huge disparity between nations on what is and what is not allowed and safety regulations.

Ships have always needed to be re-cycled even when they were made of wood. The Fighting Temeraire on her way to Beatson’s Yard, Rotherhithe to be broken up was painted by J.M.W. Turner.

The Fighting Temeraire was sold for five and a half thousand pounds and the copper alone was sold back to the Admiralty for three thousand pounds.

After the Second World War there were a huge number of steel war ships and cargo ships to be scrapped. Some were scrapped in Britain others in Italy and Japan but the focus began to shift to Tawain in the 1970s. However, after an explosion in Kaohsiung port in 1986 and a fire on board the tanker Canari which killed 14 people and injured 47 more there was a huge outcry and the ship recycling business shifted to Alang, a coastal town in the Indian state of Gujarat. It experienced its first major growth spurt in scrapping when the MV Kota Tenjung was beached on the 13 February 1983. By 1989 the number of employees in the ship scrapping business in Alang had reached forty thousand and Bangladesh and Pakistan followed suit.

The term recycling with regards to ships didn’t actually come into being until 1999.

Today they manage to reuse about ninety eight percent of the ship’s weight, recycling steel and other metals.The value of a ship at the end of its life is determined by its freight, if it has some on board, the sale and purchase market for ships if it is to be sold on to another shipping company, and the demand for scrap steel which is highest in the sub-continent where the labour market is cheap and there is less regulation. All of its fixtures and fittings would also have a value and therefore could be sold on to recoup the price paid for the vessel.


The secret of research when writing a crime novel, or indeed any novel, is not to show the research but to weave it into the story.

 

Obviously not all the above information is in LOST VOYAGE, indeed a great deal of it isn't but it is essential for the writer to know the background in order to build the story and make it credible.  I find the research element fascinating. Not only do I learn a great deal from it but it also helps me to understand and flesh out my characters and sparks even more ideas for the plot line.

"The central plot is very engaging and Rowson ably keeps the reader guessing as to what really happened to the Mary Jo and why.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it should appeal to most readers who like British crime stories with a strong regional feel." Net Galley

 

Buy LOST VOYAGE


 

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Crime Fiction Lovers Award - vote for your favourite crime author/novels

 

Your chance to vote for your favourite crime author and crime novels


We hope you might consider voting for Inspector Ryga mysteries DEATH IN THE HARBOUR or DEATH IN THE NETS by Pauline Rowson both published in the qualifying year 1 November 2020 to 31 October 2021

VOTE NOW for the CRIME FICTION LOVER AWARDS– readers, fans, family can vote for their favourite author or crime books published between 1 November 2020 and 31 October 2021.

DEADLINE to VOTE 10 November 2021



VOTE HERE

Friday, 5 November 2021

Crime novels that go with a BANG!

DI Andy Horton certainly sets off some fireworks! Why not sample some crime novels that go with a real bang.  There are fifteen in the Inspector Andy Horton mystery series, so plenty to choose from.

See the DI Andy Horton crime novels in order and read more about where they are set and the flawed and rugged Portsmouth based detective.

Guy Fawkes planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605.  Immediately before his execution on 31 January, Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck.  Remember, remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot...

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

November a month for remembering, writing and reading a crime novel or two!

 

Death in the Harbour by Pauline RowsonAt this time last year, 2020, we were beginning yet another lock down in the UK after a tumultuous year of Covid. 2020 was not good. 2021 has been better but there is still caution in the UK although many of the restrictions have been lifted and the vaccine programme has been a huge success, long may it continue to be so.  This time last year I was delighted that number two in the Inspector Ryga 1950s set mystery series was published in November, DEATH IN THE HARBOUR and now there is another Ryga mystery to add, DEATH IN THE NETS, number three which was published on 4 October 2021.

I am currently writing number four in the series.





Death in the Nets, the Inspector Ryga Mystery by Pauline Rowsono
Escaping to the 1950s was the perfect antidote for me to the turbulent Covid times writing the third Inspector Ryga mystery, DEATH IN THE NETS. It is set in January 1951 in the small fishing town of Brixham in Devon, England where the body of a man stabbed through the heart is found tangled up in fishing nets.

After a series of startling revelations, Scotland Yard's Inspector Ryga is tasked to discover why the dead man who left the town eleven years ago has returned and why someone hated him enough to murder him.


It is available in paperback, as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle.



The first two Inspector Ryga mysteries DEATH IN THE COVE, and DEATH IN THE HARBOUR are also available as audio books on Audible.

There is not much on in November for me. I was hoping to give a talk for the Portsmouth branch of  Read Easy, a national charity which provides free, confidential one-to-one reading coaching for adults from trained volunteers, through locally-run, affiliated volunteer groups, but sadly that has been postponed to 2022.  However, that means there is plenty of time for writing, cracking on with Ryga's latest baffling case, and plenty of time for research for a new DI Andy Horton.


Remember, remember the 5 November


On 5 November there is Guy Fawks night. Guy Fawkes planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605.  Immediately before his execution on 31 January, Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck.  Remember, remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot... It's not only Guy Fawkes who can create fireworks.


Crime novels that go with a bang


Remembrance Day


And lest we forget, November is also the month when we remember the service and sacrifice of all those who have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. We remember the Armed Forces, and their families, from Britain and the Commonwealth, the vital role played by the emergency services and those that have lost their lives as a result of conflict or terrorism. On Thursday 11 November at at 11am we will have two minutes silence in their memory. Remembrance Sunday follows on 14 November. 

And in the words of the great poet John Keats 1795-1821, as we are deep into Autumn in the UK let's enjoy the "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,"

PS It's also a good month to read a crime novel or two especially as the days draw in.



Monday, 1 November 2021

What does it take to be a successful writer? Pauline Rowson explains


Pauline Rowson's crime novels
It’s often said that you should write what you know, but I don't agree. I’ve never committed a murder, or been a police officer, and neither am I married to one. Before I started writing my crime novels I had limited experience and knowledge of the law. I’d never been to autopsy, (and still haven't) yet after many trials and tribulations I finally got the job as a crime writer. I now have twenty four published crime novels under my belt and more to come. So what does it take to become a successful writer? Here's my take on some of the basic requirements.

Read on

 

 

Perfect crime reading to keep out the cold - Crime at Christmas - forget the John Lewis Christmas Advert here's mine

Forget the John Lewis Christmas advert - here's mine! Crime at Christmas. Perfect crime reading for Christmas and beyond. My December se...