Thursday, 25 February 2021

Fascinating forensic facts- bullet wounds


Pauline Rowson with DI Andy Horton Mystery, Lethal WavesDuring my research for my crime novels I uncover some fascinating forensic facts. Here are some on bullet wounds unearthed while I was writing the Inspector Andy Horton police procedural crime novel, LETHAL WAVES, number 13 in the Horton series.

There are fifteen in the DI Andy Horton series, and I am currently writing number sixteen.

Bullet wounds

The shape of a bullet entry wound, and an examination of the victim’s clothes for evidence of soot or stippling helps in determining the range at which he/she was shot. The absence of soot on the clothes indicates the victim was shot at intermediate range, between two to three feet.

The victim can incur a fatal gun wound but still be capable of physical activity. In fact, he/she can run hundreds of yards before dying, even if shot in the heart. The oxygen supply to the brain is the critical factor in survival and time of death tests have proved that an individual can remain conscious and can function, he can run or walk for ten seconds, before collapsing.

So there you have it!

Lethal Waves, Inspector Andy Horton (13)


Lethal Waves, a DI Andy Horton mystery by Pauline RowsonOn his return from Guernsey, Horton is called out to investigate the death of a vagrant whose body is found under a rotting houseboat on the shores of Portsmouth.

"Nothing in this police procedural is as it first appears. The Harley Davidson-riding, boat-dwelling Horton is a fascinating man to get to know, and his thoughtful approach to detection is a pleasure to read." Publishers Weekly

"This heart-breaking story of ambition, greed, jealousy, and revenge makes a good choice for fans of no-nonsense British procedurals." Booklist

Read more about the Inspector Andy Horton police procedural crime novels


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

DEATH IN THE HARBOUR Inspector Ryga interviews the harbour master

A tantalizing mystery set in 1950s England. Scotland Yard's Inspector Ryga is sent to the Port of Newhaven, East Sussex to discover why Police Constable Swinley was found dead in the harbour and his wife has gone missing. Listen to an extract from the audio book. DEATH IN THE HARBOUR no.2 in the Inspector Ryga series.

Monday, 22 February 2021

DEAD SEA, Art Marvik Mystery Thriller (4) fast-paced, action-packed suspesne

The ART MARVIK series of mystery thrillers are published in paperback, as an ebook, on Kindle, Kobo, Apple Books and Google - Buy now

 There are three in the fast-paced, action-packed series with number four DEAD SEA published 15 March 2021 available for pre-order now in paperback and on Kindle. 

Watch the video book trailer for DEAD SEA (4).

 "A tense, terrifying thrill ride that twists and turns with dizzying speed, combined with a likable, smart, tough, but all too human hero, make this a cracking-good new series - action fans need Marvik on their radar." Booklist

Pre-order a copy of DEAD SEA Amazon.

Pre-order a copy of DEAD SEA  Amazon .com

Pre-order paperback at Waterstones, Foyles the Book Depository your local bookshop or on Amazon.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Pauline Rowson talking about the locations of the DI Andy Horton crime novels

In this short video, taken from my keynote speech at the Creative Portsmouth event, I'm talking about the locations featured in the DI Andy Horton series of crime novels (15) and why I set my crime novels in and around the waterfront city of Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and the Solent


 "Exemplary, multi-layered,cleverly plotted with an especially good series hero, a likeable fellow with plenty of street smarts and the requisite personal baggage. A great British detective crime series."

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Lost Voyage, Art Marvik Mystery Thriller (3) "A great read for mystery thriller fans."

 The ART MARVIK series of mystery thrillers are published in paperback, as an ebook, on Kindle, Kobo, Apple Books and Google - Buy now

 There are three in the fast-paced, action-packed series with number four DEAD SEA published 15 March 2021 available for pre-order now in paperback and on Kindle. 

Watch the video book trailer for Marvik mystery thriller LOST VOYAGE (3)

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Pauline Rowson talking about her enigmatic Portsmouth detective, DI Andy Horton

DI Andy Horton featured in 15 crime novels set against the backdrop of the sea.

 "Inventive, exciting, gripping and full of thrilling twists and turns. Deserves mention in the same breath as works in the upper echelon of American procedurals (those by Ed McBain or Joseph Wambaugh for example) and their British counterparts, including the work of Peter Robinson and John Harvey. " Booklist 

Inspector Andy Horton - a man defined by a tormented past, but with hopes for his future.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Writing a novel out of order, not chronologically is OK


Crime author Pauline Rowson talking about her crime novelsAt a talk I was asked an interesting question - do I always write chronologically or do I jump about?

My answer was in the main I try to write the first draft from beginning to end but it doesn't always work out that way, primarily because I do not have a complete plot line mapped out before I start writing.  Usually I only have the first three chapters plotted and some of the character profiles drawn up.  As I begin the creative writing process I find that there comes a point when I might jump from writing chapter seven or ten to chapter eighteen or twenty... or the ending.
I start at chapter one and crack on with the first draft, as I said above having very little idea at that stage where I am going and no idea who done it, why and how. I plot as I write allowing the characters to spring up, form, develop and spark more ideas. That isn’t to say I start with a completely blank sheet. I have a location and usually a victim, not necessarily a dead one, it could be a missing one.
I have my regular cast of characters in the DI Andy Horton crime novels, the Art Marvik mystery thrillers and the 1950s set mysteries with  Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Alun Ryga, and war photographer, Eva Paisely.  Alongside all these guys I have a smattering of new characters for each new novel, whose personalities and motivations need to be developed and layered up as I write. Sometimes those who I believe will be main characters fall by the wayside, some who I have given just walk on parts suddenly become a great deal more interesting and move up the ranks. 

Dead Passage a DI Andy Horton crime novelI have a plot line or story board that I add to, erase, and alter as I write.  All is going in sequence... that is until I get to about chapter ten or possibly even later.  By then I’ve begun to work out who did it and why and I am impatient to get to the end to see if my theories will work. This is when I start jumping about. 

I might write the last chapter (usually chapter twenty five which invariably gets altered in the revisions). Then I might write chapter twenty and go back and write chapter eighteen of seventeen.  I might just write without any real chapter breaks, although that is rare.  Once I’ve sussed out the who, why, when, where and how – of usually more than one murder – I can then go back to the beginning and put in the plot and clues! 

It’s messy but it’s binding to quote another "great” only this time an actor, Bob Hope although at the time he was swearing "on a mess of black-eyed peas and candied yams”. (The Lemon Drop Kid). Me? I’ll stick to coffee and rock cakes, oh, and the more than occasional glass of white wine, which, by the way, helps the plot enormously.

I am the author of twenty-two crime novels all set against the backdrop of the sea, primarily on the South Coast of England.  My books are available in paperback, ebooks, Amazon Kindle and many as audio books. They are also available for loan in public libraries in the UK, Commonwealth and the USA.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

How to research police procedures and crime scene investigation

Dead Passage an Inspector Andy Horton crime novel by Pauline RowsonI'm often asked how I research my crime novels and in particular the police procedure and crime scene investigation side of things in my contemporary set DI Andy Horton novels. I'm not married to a police officer or a former police officer so I didn't start off with any inside knowledge. I am, however, married to a retired fire fighter so when it comes to fires, burnt bodies and serious traffic and other incidents which fire fighters attend, I have a wealth of information to draw on which can be incorporated into a crime novel. Indeed I have done so.

THE SUFFOCATING SEA (DI Andy Horton #3) begins with a body on a burning boat and Horton almost gets fried alive in a locked vestry while investigating a crime. In BLOOD ON THE SAND (DI Andy Horton #5) there is a fire in a house where Horton is with a possible suspect (and a cat) and in DEATH SURGE (DI Andy Horton #10) and FATAL CATCH (DI Andy Horton #12) victims are found after a fire, the first in one of the tunnels in the ancient fortifications around Portsmouth Island and the second in a house by Fareham Quay. But to get back to police procedure.

When I first created the enigmatic, flawed and rugged DI Andy Horton in TIDE OF DEATH I approached Hampshire Police (the county in which my novels are set) and asked if I could visit the police station and talk to some police officers in CID and in what was then called the Vice Squad. Hampshire Police were brilliant. They let me visit them twice even though I wasn't then published. That gave me some basic background which I have since built on and now I know many police officers and those in civilian jobs attached to the police service. I'm grateful to Hampshire Police and forensic experts for their help and patience and for being so generous in giving me their time.



So where do I get the police procedural information and how can writers obtain this kind of information?

Police and government websites

The police websites, both the regional and national ones, are a good source of information for writers and there is considerable information on the Crown Prosecution Services website.(UK)

Social Media

It's also worth following the police on Twitter. There are many official feeds from the various police units as well as from individual police officers and ex police officers. There are also feeds from those involved in forensic science and other aspects of the law with links to some highly informative blogs written by these individuals. Linked In can also connect you with professionals. A search on the Internet or Twitter can help you find police officer blogs and articles.

Books and reference sources

Then there are some very handy guides available to buy from bookshops, on line or to borrow from your local library. The Crime Writer's Casebook is one, written by former UK detective Stuart Gibbon now a consultant and author along with his second book Being a Detective. Another well thumbed book I consult is again named The Crime Writer's Handbook by Douglas Wynn subtitled 65 ways to kill your victim in print!

Events, courses and the Crime Readers Association

I have also run events CSI Portsmouth, CSI Southampton, CSI Winchester, CSI Basingstoke where I have brought together crime authors, police and crime experts to debate crime fiction and crime fact. By doing this I have met many forensic experts who provide me with a wealth of information. Nothing is planned at present on this front but if a new event is organized it will be posted here on my website.

There are also courses for writers run by serving police officers and ex-coppers. The Crime Writers' Association, of which I am a member, have a very useful website called the Crime Readers Association for crime fiction fans along with useful blogs, articles and information for budding crime writers.

You can also find courses and talks on police and forensic services via Twitter.

Crime and police advisers for writers

Stuart Gibbon is one former detective who provides advice/talks and courses @gibconsultancy.  Another is Graham Bartlett @gbpoliceadvisor There is also
@ConsultingCops All of these and information about their services and talks can be found on Twitter.

Consulting Cops for Writers

Consulting Cops for Writers  has an expanded database of experts who have worked in the field and they are able to match the writer's enquiry to the relevant expert and supply them with the information they need to authenticate their project. You can check out their team of experts on their website and sign up for their regular newsletter.

My crime novels cannot truly reflect real police procedure because if they did they would end up reading like a police manual and bore everyone to tears. The basics are then spiced up and tweaked by my imagination.

One of the problems with writing contemporary crime novels though is that the police service in the UK is continually being re-organized by the government which means that no sooner do I mention a department than its name changes or it merges with another. It is not possible to be a hundred percent correct on this but they were correct at the time of writing.

There are advantages in writing an historical crime novel, as in my 1950 set mysterie featuring Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Alun Ryga, who is sent to the coast to investigate baffling coastal crimes in DEATH IN THE COVE and DEATH IN THE HARBOUR. In an historical crime novel I don't have to wrestle with the fact that the names of the police departments change. In addition, the red tape that today surrounds serving police officers today was then practically non existent. The challenge though is to get the procedure for that period correct and to incorporate that and the way of thinking and investigating into the novel to ensure it is an entertaining and intriguing read. I hope I have done so.

A Deadly Wake, a DI Andy Horton novel by Pauline RowsonA DEADLY WAKE (DI Andy Horton 15)  available in paperback, as an ebook, on Amazon Kindle and Kobo

As DI Andy Horton follows the trail of a man found dead in a log cabin on the Isle of Wight, he uncovers some startling revelations into his own mother’s past and the truth behind her disappearance over thirty years ago.

Published in paperback, ebook, on Amazon Kindle and Kobo order on line and from all booksellers

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Dangerous Cargo - Marvik Mystery Thriller (2) Action fans need Marvik on their radar

 The ART MARVIK series of mystery thrillers are published in paperback, as an ebook, on Kindle, Kobo, Apple Books and Google - Buy now

 There are three in the fast-paced, action-packed series with number four DEAD SEA published 15 March 2021 available for pre-order now in paperback and on Kindle. 

Watch the video book trailer for Marvik mystery thriller  DANGEROUS CARGO (2)

Fascinating forensic facts- bullet wounds

  During my research for my crime novels I uncover some fascinating forensic facts. Here are some on bullet wounds unearthed while I was w...