A band new mystery, a brand new detective in Pauline Rowson's 1950 set historical crime series

DEATH IN THE COVE introduces Inspector Alun Ryga. It is set in 1950, England, a country still suffering the physical and mental scars of six years of war in the grip of austerity and rationing. Recently promoted to Inspector at Scotland Yard, Ryga,a former Merchant Navy seaman and German prisoner-of-war is despatched to the Island of Portland in Dorset to solve an unusual and baffling case.

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 and no computers so it was extremely interesting to research and write.

Scotland Yard were frequently called in to investigate murder cases around the UK so rather than have the novel (and series) rooted in London I could move my detective around the country to help solve crimes. Once again, though, I wanted to feature the sea in my crime novels - my trademark or brand if you like - so I created a character with an intimate knowledge of the sea, a former Merchant Seaman.

In addition, I didn't want to make Ryga an action hero but sought to differ him from DI Andy Horton and Art Marvik by creating a man who was more reflective. Neither did I want someone who had been hailed as a war hero but who had been forced to suffer the war in captivity. Ryga, therefore, is one of many who had no option but to wait and hope for endless days, months and years that the war would end and the Nazis would be defeated.

Ryga’s background, and the years of incarceration, have made him unique in his approach to solving coastal based crimes. His experience at sea and four years spent in MILAG (Marine Internierten Lager) after his ship was seized by a German Raider has made him watchful, analytical and reflective and given him insights into his fellow man, along with a promise to himself to keep an open mind.

The war has also unexpectedly resulted in opening up a new career for Ryga. Encouraged by a fellow prisoner to study, Ryga with the help of his mentor made the transition from the Merchant Navy to the Thames River Police. Before DEATH IN THE COVE opens Ryga has been involved in two highly successful criminal investigations at the Port of London and as a result had been catapulted into the Metropolitan Police and then into CID in Scotland Yard. Now he is being called upon to utilize his vast knowledge of the sea on his first solo investigation out of London to discover why a man dressed in a pinstriped suit has been stabbed in the neck and ended up dead on the beach of a small cove on Portland on the Dorset coast.

DEATH IN THE COVE is published in paperback, ebook, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and as an audio book on 26 September 2019 Available to pre-order

Inspector Andy Horton is at Cowes Week in a race against time to find Sergeant Cantelli's missing nephew

DEATH SURGE is set during the International sailing regatta of Cowes Week, which in 2019 runs from 10 August to 17 August.

Cowes Week has been held in early August every year since 1826, except during the two world wars. It is sometimes delayed a week to take into account the tides or, as in 2012, to avoid a clash with the Olympic Games. In 2016, it followed the Americas Cup which took part in the Solent, off Portsmouth, on 22 - 24 July. Over the years Cowes Week has attracted British and foreign royalty, and many famous faces- including Inspector Andy Horton.

DEATH SURGE opens with Andy Horton sailing off the Isle of Wight. He’s trying to find inner peace after a gruelling investigation (UNDERCURRENT) which has left him questioning his desire to remain in the job. His ongoing conflict with his nit-picking, control-freak, Alpha female boss DCI Lorraine Bliss doesn’t help matters either. He’s also seeking to escape the mental torment that is being caused by the startling revelations from his own private investigations into the disappearance of his mother when he was ten, just over thirty years ago.

A call from Sergeant Barney Cantelli, his colleague in CID, puts paid to all that. Cantelli’s nephew, Johnnie Oslow, was due to join a crew for the yacht racing at Cowes. When Johnnie doesn’t show and nobody has heard from him Cantelli, frantic with worry, brings Horton back to Cowes on the Isle of Wight to kick-start investigations.

The inspiration behind Death Surge

The idea behind DEATH SURGE came like all my novels in the series featuring the flawed and rugged DI Andy Horton, from the location.  This time the charred remains of a young man are found in the old ruins of the Hilsea Lines in Portsmouth, an ancient monument, which has become a popular walking spot and which including woodland, meadows and fresh brackish lakes. Is the body that of Cantelli's nephew, Johnnie? Horton sincerely hopes not but is rather afraid it could be.
"As Horton made for the north of the city he mentally ran through what he knew of the bastions that formed Hilsea Lines. There were several of them, originally built to protect the north of the island from attack in 1544. Since then they had been rebuilt, some time in the 1700s, he thought, and again, he seemed to recall, in 1871 with the renewed threat of a French invasion, which had never happened. They had belonged to the army, providing barracks, ammunition stores and a series of tunnels beneath the earth mounds, before becoming derelict and overgrown with grass, shrubs and trees. But some years ago (he forgot when), the Hilsea Lines had been designated a conservation area with a series of nature trails around the moat and the creek which made Portsmouth an island; or rather it would have done, but for the two road bridges over it and the motorway on the western shores. Was it Johnnie, Sergeant Cantelli's nephew, he thought fearfully.”

Hilsea Lines Tunnel - in Death Surge DI Andy Horton crime novel

Gilkicker Fort, Gosport in DEATH SURGE a DI Andy Horton Mystery

 DEATH SURGE, an Inspector Andy Horton Mystery

"A crisply written, cleverly plotted procedural with a nice twist, Rowson’s latest also continues the intriguing saga of Andy’s search for the mother who disappeared in mysterious circumstances when he was a child." Booklist.

Death Surge is available in paperback, as an ebook on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo and as an unabridged audio book narrated by Gordon Griffin and published by Soundings.

A wet August night and DI Andy Horton is on the trail of a killer in UNDERCURRENT

A wet August night and Inspector Andy Horton is returning from London to Portsmouth when police cars on blue lights race past him on the motorway. Nothing unusual in that but as Horton heads for the small yacht on which he lives he sees the police vehicles pull up outside Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard and draw to a halt.

He pulled in behind the police vehicle straddling the closed double wooden doors of the Historic Dockyard and silenced the Harley. There was no fight and no drunks; just PCs Bailey and Johnson talking to two security officers at the side gate. Removing his helmet Horton asked what was going on.‘Suspicious death, sir,’ Johnson answered.‘Inside?’ Horton asked, troubled as he dismounted.The younger and stouter of the two security officers answered him. ‘We think it’s Dr Douglas Spalding. He gave a public lecture here tonight and he hasn’t signed out.’Horton caught the brief exchange of glances between him and his colleague, a man in his mid-fifties, lean with a haggard face and nervous manner. It didn’t take a mind reader to see that someone had made a balls-up.‘He’s in Number One Dock,’ the younger of the two security officers continued.That meant nothing to Horton except that docks were very deep and sometimes full of water – or was that a basin? Perhaps they were one and the same thing. ‘He’s in the water?’ he asked, suppressing a shiver as he visualized the body floating face down in a dark, icy pool of stagnant water. He’d wished for action but not this kind. He hadn’t wanted anyone dead.‘No, it’s a dry dock. The last one at the end of the Historic Dockyard before you hit Portsmouth Harbour.’ Horton wasn’t sure that conjured up a better picture."

Locations always inspire me

And so it was with UNDERCURRENT. While on a visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this is what I saw and it immediately looked like a body under that tarpaulin in Number One Dock, which houses the black and white Monitor M33, one of only two British warships to survive from World War 1 and which has now been restored and is open to the public. But when I wrote Undercurrent Number One Dock was sealed off. So this sight of the tarpaulin with my imaginary body under it sparked a number of questions. Who is it? How did he get there? Why is he dead? How did he die? And so began the twisted tale of UNDERCURRENT.

Undercurrent an Inspector Andy Horton Mystery


When naval historian Dr Douglas Spalding is found dead in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, the Major Crime Team is adamant it is suicide. Detective Inspector Horton is not so sure. Then another body is found in similar circumstances and Horton is convinced they’re looking at murder; but not so his bosses. Angry and frustrated at the lack of investigation, Horton goes out on a limb to prove he’s right. Whichever way he turns, he finds the deaths have all the hallmarks of a cover up at the highest level, but who is behind it and why?

Soon Horton begins to find disturbing similarities with his own private investigations into the disappearance of his mother thirty years ago. As he gets closer to the truth someone is determined to prevent it from ever coming out, even if means death . . .

"Rowson offers up a thorny, multifaceted plot; a profusion of unusual twists; a likable yet complex hero; and plenty of fast-paced, knuckle-biting action." Booklist USA

My grateful thanks to Rowannah Martin-Cottee and Heather Johnson of the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth who helped me with the research for this novel and for answering my numerous questions.

Available in paperback, as an e book, on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo and as an unabridged audio book narrated by Gordon Griffin.

What's happening in August for crime writer, Pauline Rowson

It might be summer outside but in my mind I'm deep in winter with the second Inspector Alun Ryga 1950 set mystery.  In fact it's almost Christmas!  Perhaps it will help to keep me cool as the temperature rises.

The first Inspector Ryga mystery, DEATH IN THE COVE  is now available to pre-order in paperback, on Kindle, Kobo and as an audio book. It is set in 1950 England, a country still struggling to come to terms peace in the grip of austerity and rationing.

Death in the Cove, an Inspector Alun Ryga 1950 historical crime novel

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 despatched 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.

Pre-order your copy now. Published on 26 September 2019

August also gives me the chance to feature two of my DI Andy Horton crime novels set during that month - the summer heat is obviously causing a crime wave for my flawed and rugged detective with a high crime rate in his home coastal city of Portsmouth, England!

DI Andy Horton Undercurrent and Death Surge

During the month of August there will be articles and extracts on both Undercurrent, (number nine) and Death Surge( number ten) in the DI Andy Horton series of currently 14 novels,  with the publication of Dead Passage, the latest.

Meanwhile here is a brief outline of both Undercurrent and Death Surge which sees Horton solving a new mystery in each case and pursuing the personal investigations into the disappearance of his mother, Jennifer.

Undercurrent - DI Andy Horton 9 by Pauline Rowson

Naval historian Dr Douglas Spalding is found dead in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.
It looks like suicide but Horton goes out on a limb to prove otherwise. Soon he's embroiled in a cover up at the highest level.

'Rowson offers up a thorny, multifaceted plot; a profusion of unusual twists; a likable yet complex hero; and plenty of fast-paced, knuckle-biting action.' Booklist USA

Death Surge, DI Andy Horton 10 by Pauline Rowson 


A telephone call from a frantic Sergeant Cantelli to say that his nephew is missing cuts short DI Horton’s sailing trip to France

What began as the hunt for a missing man becomes the search for a ruthless killer...
'A crisply written, cleverly plotted procedural with a nice twist.' Booklist USA

Available in paperback, as an ebook, on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo and as unabridged audio books

Harlequin Books to publish DI Andy Horton Lethal Waves by Pauline Rowson in the USA

Harlequin Books USA has bought mass market direct to consumer paperback rights to the Inspector Andy Horton crime novel LETHAL WAVES.

LETHAL WAVES is number 13 in the DI Andy Horton mystery series of currently 14 and is already published in the UK in paperback and as an e book, on Amazon Kindle and Kobo.

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 don'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.

The Inspector Andy Horton crime novels are set against the atmospheric backdrop of the sea in the Solent area of England in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. They have been hailed in UK, USA and Commonwealth as "exemplary," "multi-layered" and "cleverly plotted" with reviewer, Booklist, claiming that Andy Horton is an "especially good series hero, a likeable fellow with plenty of street smarts and the requisite personal baggage"

Andy Horton is a man very much defined by a tormented past spent primarily in care when his mother disappeared when he was ten. He is an instinctive copper rather than an intellectual one, tough and resilient, but deeply empathetic. His dry sense of humour is the key to his investigative approach. It’s how he keeps people at arm’s length and stays detached from the crimes he investigates. His greatest strength is his ability to put himself in a victim’s shoes, to imagine events from their perspective (even the moments up to their death), making leaps of deduction few would be able to. And he’s most often right.

Harlequin (Harlequin.com) is one of the world’s leading publishers of books with titles issued worldwide in as many as 32 languages and sold in up to 93 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, itself a subsidiary of News Corp and one of the largest consumer book publishers in the world. Harlequin has offices in 14 countries, including offices in Toronto and New York.

Harlequin published FATAL CATCH, number twelve the USA in 2018. FATAL CATCH is published in the UK and Commonwealth in paperback and as an e book on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo.

My mystery crime novels 

Fourteen feature the rugged and flawed Portsmouth detective DI Andy Horton, with the latest DEAD PASSAGE published in October 2018.

Three feature undercover investigator and former Royal Marine Commando, Art Marvik who works for the UK's National Intelligence Marine Squad (NIMS)

Two standalone thriller mysteries, IN COLD DAYLIGHT and IN FOR THE KILL

And the first in my new historical crime series set in 1950 introducing Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Alun Ryga in his first mystery outside of London on the Island of Portland, Dorset. 

DEATH IN THE COVE is being published in paperback, as an ebook, on Kindle, Kobo and as an audio book on 26 September 2019.