Death in the Cove an atmospheric 1950 set mystery from the author of the DI Andy Horton novels

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Pauline Rowson entertaining readers at Hythe Library

I was delighted to talk to readers at Hythe Library Southampton on Monday 10 February about the exploits of my fictional sleuths -  DI Andy Horton who appears in fourteen crime novels - soon to be fifteen with the publication of A DEADLY WAKE in June 2020 -; Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Alun Ryga in my new 1950 set mystery, DEATH IN THE COVE and undercover investigator, Art Marvik who is featured in three mystery thrillers.

I talked about the inspiration behind my crime novels set on the South Coast of England and how I research, plot and write them.

I explained how I develop plot lines by creating a storyboard; how I create characters using spidergrams and how I research the police procedure and the forensic aspects of my multi-layered crime novels.

Following my talk there was a lively question and answer session and a book signing. 'It was a pleasure to talk to the lovely audience.

DEATH IN THE COVE an Inspector Ryga 1950 set mystery

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

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.

DEAD PASSAGE a DI Andy Horton mystery number 14 in the series by Pauline Rowson

Dead Passage an Inspector Andy Horton crime novel A mysterious telephone call sends Horton on a complex and twisted investigation into the death of a local politician twelve years ago and uncovers a trail of lies, secrets and revenge with roots deep in the past.

"A detective novel in the tradition of Rankin and Harvey." Mystery People Magazine

Lost Voyage an Art Marvik mystery thriller, number 3 in the series

Lost Voyage an Art Marvik Mystery by Pauline RowsonMarvik 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

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

Save our libraries- without the library service it would be a very barren landscape indeed

The libraries in the UK have suffered dreadfully under the Conservative's austerity drive with cuts to services, staff, books and closures, depriving communities of a lifeline. From personal experience I know how much a library can change a life and how much they mean to people. I owe a great deal to libraries and particularly the libraries of Portsmouth. Without them I might never have discovered the sheer joy of reading and ultimately have become a crime writer.

Coming from a household where money was very tight and from parents who did not read, I was fortunate enough to be introduced by a friend’s mother to a small local library in Portsmouth, the Alderman Lacey Library in Tangiers Road. There I discovered a treasure trove of books, the sheer volume and variety of which would have been impossible for my parents to buy, let alone store.  I devoured everything from adventure to classics and many in between.

Books opened up a whole new world for me as a child, providing me with endless hours of pleasure, an escape into another world so very different from my own and the library inspired in me a life long passion for reading, and for writing.

Books enrich our lives in so many ways, not only are they good for our health because reading increases confidence and can help to alleviate depression, but books also enlighten, educate, entertain and inform. And what’s more libraries provide them free of charge, to one and all, there is no discrimination.

There are many who cannot afford to buy books and who certainly don’t have access to the wide range of books that the libraries provide. Trained librarians are also essential. They are able to advise and assist individuals, they have the experience and expertise to select a wide range of stock, they catalogue and curate vital local and national collections and they also play a major part in helping to bring the community together.

I have had the honour of giving many talks to readers in libraries across the UK and have met interesting people of all ages and from all walks of life who greatly value this community service. We need public libraries and we need librarians. And we need a commitment by local and national government to support them. Without the library service it would be a very barren landscape indeed.

I will be giving a talk at Hythe Library, Hampshire on Monday 10 February at 2pm. Tickets from 38 Pylewell Rd, Hythe, Southampton SO45 6AQ or buy online.

I have joined many Hampshire authors to protest against the proposed closure and cuts to Hampshire Libraries. 

Behind the characters in standalone thriller mysteries, IN COLD DAYLIGHT and IN FOR THE KILL

One of the essentials of a good novel is a strong central character, someone the reader can have empathy with, urge on, and sometimes get angry and frustrated with. He or she doesn't have to be perfect, far from it, after all who is? And strong doesn't mean the character has be forceful, on the contrary he or she can find strength of kind, an inner strength say through experience and overcoming adversity i.e. the plot/s Here's a look at what shapes two of my fictional sleuths in my standalone thriller mysteries IN COLD DAYLIGHT and IN FOR THE KILL.

In Cold Daylight a mystery thriller by Pauline Rowson

In my thriller, In Cold Daylight, Adam Greene is a reluctant hero. A successful marine artist he wants nothing more than to be left alone to paint. He opts for an easy, quiet life leaving the ambition to his successful career wife, Faye. He wants to forget the past, including his mental breakdown following the tragic death of his former girlfriend, for which he holds himself responsible.He is always overshadowed by the legacy of a lack of self esteem caused by a domineering father and a highly successful manipulative brother. But all that changes when Adam is forced to take up the quest to find the truth behind the death of  his closest friend, firefighter, Jack Batholomew after Jack is killed in a fire. In doing so Adam has to face the demons of his past. He has to discover why so many fire fighters from one watch have died of cancer and why Jack himself was killed in an attempt to hide a scandal that goes to the heart of government. Adam puts his life on the line. He is tested to the limit and is finally forced to examine his past and confront his relationships with his over ambitious wife, his father and brother.  He has to find an inner strength through experience and overcoming adversity.

In For The Kill thriller mystery by Pauline Rowson

Alex Albury, the protagonist in my thriller, In For The Kill, has it all; a successful business, loving wife and kids and a glowing reputation. Then someone steals his identity and executes a skillful and clever campaign against him by planting fraudulent information on his computer.

Before Alex can fully understand what has happened he finds himself convicted for fraud and embezzlement and serving a prison sentence. His life, as it was, crumbles.  On his release from prison he sets out to discover who has ruined his life and why. He has nothing left to lose. He's set on revenge with a pathological aversion to using any form of modern technology for fear the perpetrator will strike again.

With his life and reputation destroyed he no longer cares what happens to him. His goal is to kill. But when it comes to it can he do it?  Will he become the criminal that he is supposed to be or do his original values reassert themselves?

The characters in my novels are very real to me and if they're real to the writer then they will be real to the reader.

Both the above are available in paperback and as an ebook.

CSI Winchester 2020 where crime fiction meets crime fact - don't miss it

Crime authors Pauline Rowson and Graham Hurley will be debating crime fiction and crime fact with crime experts Carolyn Lovell, Research and Development Manager Forensic Capability Network, and Detective Superintendent Mandy Horsburgh of Hampshire Police at  CSI Winchester  on 28 March 2020.  Also present will be the team from the Hampshire Fingerprint Bureau.

Pauline Rowson is the founder of the CSI events which have proved hugely popular with audiences.  She has been involved in CSI Portsmouth, Southampton , Winchester, Basingstoke and CSI Newcastle bringing together a number of crime experts, police and crime authors to discuss crime fiction versus crime fact.

The events  mean the audience not only have the chance to meet their favourite crime writers but also hear first hand from the police officers, forensic experts and the fingerprint team.

Crime authors who have appeared at CSI events with Pauline Rowson include Ann Cleeves, M. C Beaton, Mark Billingham, Hilary Bonner, Sharon Bolton, Stephen Booth, Simon Brett, Natasha Cooper, Elly Griffiths, Mari Hannah, June Hampson, John Harvey, Matt Hilton, Graham Hurley, Jessie Keane, Peter Lovesey, Micheal Ridpath and Kerry Wilkinson.

At CSI Winchester 2020 the audience will have the chance to talk to the crime authors and crime experts and put their questions to the panel. This will be followed by a book signing.

The panel debate between the crime authors and crime experts will be chaired by Rebecca Fletcher. The event begins at 10am and concludes at 12.30pm.


10am - Meet the Fingerprint team

10.30am – 11.30am - The panel with Pauline Rowson, Graham Hurley, Carolyn Lovell and Detective Superintendent Mandy Horsburgh

Interviewed and moderated by Rebecca Fletcher

11.30am -12 noon - Audience Q & A

12noon – 12.30pm - Book signing

12.30pm Finish

Tickets cost £8 which includes £1 off a book bought at the event. Box Office call 01962 873603 or direct from: Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8SB or book online

What's on in February 2020

February comes with the exciting news that the new DI Andy Horton mystery, number 15 in the series, A DEADLY WAKE, is to be published in June 2020 and is now available for pre-order not only on Kindle but also in paperback both on line and from your local bookseller.

And yes, for all of you who have chomping at the bit to know what happened to Andy's mother when she disappeared over thirty years ago, the mystery is solved.

So pre-order your copy now!

Read more about A Deadly Wake and what's in store for DI Andy Horton.


I'm delighted to be giving a talk on crime writing and my crime novels at Hythe Library in Hampshire on 10 February.  If you are in the Hampshire area,close to Hythe Library and have some spare time why not pop in and say hello. My talk is at 2pm and tickets cost £5.00. They can be purchased from the library or book on line.

Also in February Harlequin USA are to publish  DI Andy Horton Lethal Waves. LETHAL WAVES is number thirteen in the DI Andy Horton mystery series of currently fourteen and is already published in the UK in paperback and as an e book, on Amazon Kindle and Kobo.

Lethal Waves, DI Horton Mystery USA Harlequin edition

 It is the second in the DI Andy Horton series to be published by Harlequin USA with the first being, FATAL CATCH.

I must say that the USA cover differs vastly from the UK version, below!

Still what's in a cover?  Perhaps a great deal depending on your target audience and Harlequin USA must know their audience and have decided this cover appeals to them whereas in the UK and Commonwealth perhaps we like a more gritty cover?

In LETHAL WAVES, Inspector Andy Horton’s meal with his old friend, Inspector John Guilbert of the States of Guernsey Police, is cut short when a woman is found dead in her cabin on the ferry from Portsmouth to Guernsey. There doesn’t appear to be any suspicious circumstances. It's not Horton's case. But as  soon as Horton returns to Portsmouth he's called in to investigate the death of a vagrant found lying partially covered under a rotting houseboat. This time, it’s clearly murder.  Troubled by the many unanswered questions surrounding both deaths, Horton must call upon all his skills and intuition to solve a complex case, uncovering dark secrets that have led to such lethal waves of destruction.

In February I'll be continuing the fight to save some Hampshire Libraries threatened with cuts and closures. Libraries are very dear to my heart and a small local library in Portsmouth played a huge part in my life as a child.  Indeed discovering it and the joy of reading and having free access to so many wonderful books changed my life.  It gave me a life long passion for reading and inspired me to become a writer. The campaign to save these libraries has already generated a lot of media coverage.  I know that Hampshire is only one of many areas around the country where libraries are threatened with closure or have already closed.  So sad. We must love and cherish our libraries and fight to keep them open.

Pauline Rowson talking to BBC Solent

Pauline Rowson talking to ITV Meridian

Aside from waving the placards, I'll be continuing to write Inspector Ryga number three in my 1950 set mystery series while progressing towards publication number two in the Ryga series.

Four DI Andy Horton mystery novels by Pauline Rowson re-issued

Crime author Pauline Rowson on researching police procedure

I'm often asked how I research my crime novels, and in particular the police procedure and crime scene investigation side of things. 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 married to a retired fire fighter though so when it comes to fires, burnt bodies and serious traffic and other incidents which fire fighters attend, including sadly bodies recovered from the sea, I have a wealth of information to draw on, which can be incorporated into a crime novel. Indeed I have done so.

There are crime writers who are former police officers but if that is not you and you have no idea how to obtain this kind of inside information, and are keen to get it right, then there are sources you can tap into.

Your local police constabulary, police and government websites

When I first created the flawed and rugged DI Andy Horton in TIDE OF DEATH in 2006 I approached Hampshire Police (the county in which my novels are set) and asked if they would help.  They were delighted to do so and have been of great assistance to me over the years.  However, not all police forces are so obliging, mainly because they are stretched to the limit and  do not have the time or manpower to spare to help authors. The police service websites, both the regional and national, can be 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 to give you insights of their daily lives and challenges. 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. THE CRIME WRITER’S CASEBOOK and BEING A DETECTIVE are written by former UK detective Stuart Gibbon now a consultant and author and Stephen Wade.

Another well-thumbed book I consult is, “The Crime Writer's Handbook, 65 ways to kill your victim in print” by Douglas Wynn.

Events, courses and the Crime Readers Association

I have also run CSI events in various towns with one coming up in Winchester on 28 March 2020 where I bring crime authors, police and crime experts together to debate crime fiction and crime fact.

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.

Consulting Cops for Writers

Another useful source of help is a service called Consulting Cops for Writers who provide expert advice for writers of all kinds whether that be fiction, fact, screenplays or plays. Consulting Cops boasts 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.

There is also some very useful information on their website for writers including a comprehensive list of acronyms; rank and insignia; a list of all UK police forces; the phonetic alphabet; a very useful link to real crime related websites; a gallery of famous UK crimes, and crime writer websites and festivals.

Consulting Cops for Writers provides a number of services.  They can answer specific questions; provide a scene or chapter review and check it for authenticity; review the entire written project for accuracy;

In addition, if you need to check out an idea or bounce it off an expert then Consulting Cops also offers the writer the opportunity to discuss in person ideas or issues with the police expert of the writer's choosing about a future or ongoing project. The consultation can be on the phone, via Skype or in person, depending on the writer's location.  This allows the writer to talk directly to an expert to clarify any crime related matter in their project. 

And if you need ongoing advice then Consulting Cops will identify a crime expert relevant to your project to support you for a full 12 months. Communicating by email the writer can discuss their project with the crime expert for a full 12 month period, utilizing the large database of law enforcement professionals covering all aspects of police work.

They also offer an annual membership which includes a monthly Newsletter, 1 Personal Consultation (1 hour only), 1 Scene Review, 1 x 5 Questions Request, 1 Full 120 Page Feedback Review.

Check out their services and costs on their website.

Fiction and Fact

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. So 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.

Historical crime fiction

There are advantages in writing an historical crime novel, my first in a new series set in 1950 introduces Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Alun Ryga, who is sent to the coast to investigate a complex murder in DEATH IN THE COVE.  In an historical crime novel I don't have to wrestle with the fact that the names of the police departments change, also the red tape that today surrounds serving police officers was practically non-existent. The challenge though is to get what procedure there was 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.

DEATH IN THE COVE is available in paperback, as an ebook, on Amazon Kindle and Kobo and as an audio book narrated by Jonathan Rhodes and produced by B7Media. It can be downloaded on Audible.

'Don’t miss this first book in what is sure to be a first-class series. Whilst the murderer is unmasked there are left some tempting hooks for the next book.  Highly recommended.' Mystery People Magazine

Death in the Cove an atmospheric 1950 set mystery from the author of the DI Andy Horton novels

DEATH IN THE COVE narrated by @JonathanRhodes "recommended for lovers of mysteries without gory details, a solid police procedural w...