The story behind FOOTSTEPS ON THE SHORE an Inspector Andy Horton crime novel

Locations inspire me and I’m always out and about looking for a good place to put a body - a fictional one I hasten to add. I’m very fortunate to live in an area which is extremely diverse and offers up all kinds of intriguing places from bays, beaches and boatyards to shores, ships and shipwrecks, coast, coves, ferries and frogmen. OK so I haven’t got the latter in a novel but give it time because there is always the mystery surrounding Buster Crabb, the Royal Navy frogman and MI6 diver who vanished during a reconnaissance mission around a Soviet cruiser berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1956. (Perhaps I should save this for my new 1950s set detective novels?).   You name it Portsmouth, the surrounding harbours, the Solent and the Isle of Wight has it. It also has a very diverse community, tons of history with the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, HMS Victory, (although I’ve not yet had a body on that) Queen Victoria’s residence, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, and a Roman castle at Portchester.  And it is the latter that is featured in FOOTSTEPS ON THE SHORE along with the Hayling Coastal Path and the Hard at Portsmouth.

Portchester Castle is owned and managed by English Heritage and this is what they have to say on this very impressive fort which is open to the public. “Portchester castle stands in a commanding position at the north end of Portsmouth Harbour. The Romans built a huge fort here, which remains the best preserved Roman fort north of the Alps. After the Norman Conquest a castle was built in one corner of the fort, which grew into an impressive royal residence. From 1665 Portchester was frequently used to house foreign prisoners of war, most notably during the wars with France between 1793 and 1815.”

In Footsteps on the Shore Inspector Andy Horton is called to a house next to Portchester Castle, where a woman he’d only met the day before, Venetia Trotman, has been brutally murdered. Horton had been intending to buy a boat from her which had belonged to her late husband to replace his small boat which had been torched by a villain with Horton only just managing to escape with his life. Horton has been living on board his boat in Southsea Marina since his estrangement from his wife, Catherine.

A convicted murderer, Luke Felton, released on licence, has been reported missing. Could he be Venetia Trotman’s killer? Or is the decomposed corpse washed up in Portsmouth harbour the missing Luke Felton? If so does Horton have two killers on his hands or one?  But what, if anything, connects an ex-criminal and a quiet unassuming lady?

Added to this is the return of Horton’s nit-picking boss, DCI Lorraine Bliss from her secondment at HQ and she’s intent on making Horton’s life as difficult as possible.  Someone else also seems set on troubling Horton when he finds a symbol scratched on his Harley Davidson.  Horton is under pressure to get results, but things are about to get much worse for the beleaguered detective …

There are many twists and turns in this novel with a hint of international crime behind it but I will say no more. I wouldn’t want to spoil your enjoyment of it.

'Procedural fans who haven’t already read Rowson should be encouraged to do so in the strongest possible terms.' Booklist, Starred Review

Available in paperback, as an ebook, on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo in Large Print and as unabridged audio book narrated by Gordon Griffin.  Also available for loan in libraries in the UK, Commonwealth and the USA.

Where to buy

Pauline Rowson's books USA

Pauline Rowson's books UK

From your local bookshop


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