Inspector Horton's patch in bid for City of Culture


My fictional detective, Inspector Andy Horton's home patch of Portsmouth, England has reached the finals of the bid for the UK's City of Culture 2013. The neighbouring cities of Chichester and Southampton are also on the list of 14 final hopefuls, which is great news because the heroes in my stand alone crime thriller novels, In Cold Daylight and In For the Kill also visit those cities.  My novels are set on the South Coast of England.

Portsmouth is my home town.  It is where I was raised and the primary setting for my contemporary marine mystery crime novels so I'm obviously going to be biased in rooting for it.  I am often asked why set my crime novels here?  Why not?  There is a belief in some publishing circles that only novels set in London are acceptable or will sell worldwide, but that is nonsense as many crime fiction fans know. Many are set in Yorkshire, Scotland, the Cotswolds and the West Country along with crime novels set in Venice, Sweden, Singapore or wherever. And my crime novels are indeed sold worldwide with translations also into Indonesian, Polish and soon Turkish and possibly Chinese!

Portsmouth, and the Solent area, is a vibrant place and full of contrasts, which makes for good detective and police procedural novels. Portsmouth has one of the highest areas of social deprivation in the UK.  It's a crowded island with its narrow streets of flat fronted terrace houses, its council estates and tower blocks on the one hand and the expensive apartments of Gunwharf Quays (Oyster Quays in my Horton crime novels) and large houses in Southsea and the historic Old Portsmouth on the other.  


It is a busy commercial and ferry port, with a fishing fleet and a prominent naval base. It boasts centuries of history and a great literary tradition with Charles Dickens having been born in Portsmouth in 1812 and his birthplace preserved as a musuem.  And then there is the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle creator of the World's most famous private detective (sorry Poirot) who created  Sherlock Holmes in Portsmouth. Doyle lived in Portsmouth, penning his first and second Sherlock Holmes novels in the city. What an act to follow!!

Situated approximately seventy miles from London, Portsmouth has its villains and heroes. A multi-cultural city on the waterfront it is a rich source of material for my marine mystery crime novels. So forgive me if I cheer for Portsmouth to win the bid for City of Culture 2013.  But if Southampton or Chichester beat  Pompey to it I won't be too distraught.
 
UK cities bid for culture title: "The final 14 hopefuls for the UK's first city of culture in 2013 have been revealed ahead of the winner's announcement next year."

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