The story behind Inspector Andy Horton crime novel, Death Lies Beneath

DEATH LIES BENEATH is a multi-layered Detective Inspector Andy Horton crime novel, number eight in the series.  Like most of my novels it is inspired by locations in the area where I live and where the novels are set, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. It is also inspired by topical crimes.  In this case, metal thefts, fraud, boat salvage operations and more.

In addition it is one of the pivotal novels in the Horton police procedural series because in it Andy Horton discover a massive lead in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his mother when he was ten, which is to set him off on a journey to find the truth about what really happened to her after she walked out of their council flat in a tower block in inner city Portsmouth one foggy November day in 1978 never to be seen again. And in DEATH LIES BENEATH Andy’s marriage to Catherine is set to be finally dissolved much to Andy’s sorrow.

But back to locations…

There were two areas that helped inspire me for the setting of DEATH LIES BENEATH, one was the marshes on the northern boundary of the city of Portsmouth facing on to Langstone Harbour, Farlington Marshes. The other was the area of Tipner, or more specifically the sea bordering this north western boundary of Portsmouth, which filters into Portsmouth Harbour.

The former, Farlington Marshes, part of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, is a coastal grazing marsh and lagoon which has several pools, and a broad stream providing feeding and roosting sites for waders and wildfowl. 

The latter the sea off Tipner, called Tipner Lake, falls within the Portsmouth Harbour special protection area and moves to reclaim the land to provide extra space for the expansion of Portsmouth were rejected in the early 1990s on environmental grounds. But the area around the Tipner quayside has been cleared in preparation for expansion and a proposed new marina, which at the time of writing has not happened.

So what links the two?


Well ex con Daryl Woodley is found dead in the remote location of Farlington Marshes and the body of a woman dressed in black is found during a boat salvage operation to clear a World War II munitions barge from the seabed off Tipner.  If I tell you more I will spoil it for you. 

Horton is tasked to investigate both murders and it’s believed there could be a link between them in the form of a big time crook, currently serving time in prison, Marty Stapleton. That brings Agent Harriet Eames over from Europol seconded to work with Horton to help solve the crimes.  For those of you who have read the Inspector Andy Horton novels the name Eames will ring some bells with you.  Harriet Eames is the daughter of Lord Richard Eames, a man, Horton later discovers is involved with Jennifer Horton’s disappearance.  I’ll say no more.

Meanwhile Horton has to find metal thieves, Daryl Woodley’s killer and the murderer of the woman in black who might very well be the same person.   Aided by Agent Harriet Eames and working for Detective Superintendent Uckfield of the Major Crime Team Horton employs his usual instinctive approach, combined with a grim determination and a disregard for procedure to get to the truth.

Happy reading. 

DEATH LIES BENEATH is available in paperback and as an ebook, on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo.  It is also available as an unabridged audio book narrated by Gordon Griffin.


"A fast paced excellent mystery, with an interesting diverse set of characters, and an intriguing hook at the end that has me eagerly awaiting the next instalment in this series.Highly recommended." Mystery People

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Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries


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