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Pauline Rowson lives on Hayling Island, Hampshire. She wrote the thriller In Cold Daylight after hearing that several fire-fighters from one watch contracted cancer. Officially it was a co-incidence but is In Cold Daylight a metaphor for the callous way such fire-fighters are treated? Or is it simply a piece of fictional entertainment? Unravelling Rowson’s cryptic clues in this fast-paced, atmospheric thriller, is like playing a nail-biting game of ‘pass the parcel’. After unexpected twists, you peel off the literary layers to eventually uncover the mystery.
Below is a Q&A with this author.
Author of the marine mystery series of crime novels featuring DI Andy Horton and of fast paced thrillers
Every known murder scene has a detective combing for clues. Every detective has a prime enemy - and it's not the criminal. For the detective, the first enemy is often the crime scene itself. It is here that the battle begins to uncover the grim truth about the murder. And a detective's nightmare crime scene has got to be a place where all the best clues could be swept away by the tide. There couldn't be a better place to set a crime story.
Pauline Rowson is well aware of the pull of murky watery places for the twisted criminal mind. She has created a whole new crime subgenre - the marine mystery featuring her flawed and rugged detective, Inspector Andy Horton.
Footsteps on the Shore published in January 2011 is the sixth and the latest in the marine mystery series and like all Rowson’s crime and thriller novels, it is set in the Solent area on the south coast of England.
So who is this detective, Inspector Andy Horton?
“DI Andy Horton is fit, flawed and rugged. He has been left psychology scarred after his mother walked out on him when he was ten leaving him to be raised in children’s homes and with foster parents. He has a desperate desire to belong and yet is always on the outside. Just when he thinks he's found happiness, Catherine, his wife, chooses to believe an allegation of rape while Horton was working undercover. In Tide of Death, the first in the series, Horton is back on his own again and in each novel in the series along with a new crime to solve, Horton goes in search of the truth about his mother’s disappearance.”
Why is the sea so important in your crime and thriller novels?
“The sea creates a very atmospheric setting for the crime novels. It gives them a sense of place. In my novels it has almost become a character in itself. It's alive, it's beautiful, it's calming but it's also dangerous, misleading and evil. No matter how much you think or wish you can control it, you can't. Sometimes you need to go with the flow and other times swim against the tide and the trick is knowing when to do which. Andy Horton hasn't quite got it sussed, or when he thinks he has something happens to throw him completely off course."
Does this mean that a good night out for you is sitting in marine pubs listening to yarns of crimes?
"I'm like a vacuum cleaner hoovering up bits of information and snippets of conversations from people everywhere and not just in pubs! I often think, hey, that would make a good story, or that person would be ideal to drop in as a character. And I can't pass a boatyard, bay, beach or a marina without thinking there must be a dead body or a skeleton here somewhere."
How do you research your villains?
"There are always shady characters especially if you're a crime writer - everyone you see can become suspicious. I've studied and lectured on personality profiles in the past and I am always curious about people's behaviour and motivations. I love talking to strangers, because you learn so many fascinating things from them and get some wonderful character descriptions. I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't mind the nutter sitting next to me on the bus!”
So the next time you get into a conversation with a stranger, make sure she's not a polite, petite brunette, or you might just recognise yourself as a cold hearted murderer in Rowson's next bestseller!
Written by Alison Rogers in conjunction with DotPR.
Shortlisted for the Spread the Word : Books to Talk About 2008.Inspired by a true story of fire-fighters who all died in the line of duty with a potential cover up over their deaths. A fast paced thriller to keep you gripped to the end.
Inspector Andy Horton returns to his desk in Portsmouth CID after a tedious computer course in London to find there has been a series of highway robberies in his absence and an arson attack at the sailing club where the Chief Constable keeps his boat. What's more the Chief's boat is one of three that have been set alight and he's demanding action. But when the fingerprint bureau phone Horton to tell him the prints of an unknown man found dead in a log cabin in a secluded bay on the Isle of Wight match those of someone he met six months previously, Horton's priorities are clear. He travels to the island to identify the body but what greets him is totally unexpected. As he follows the trail of the dead man, he uncovers some startling revelations into his own mother's past and the truth behind her disappearance over thirty years ago.
Detective Inspector Horton of Portsmouth CID is assigned the case of a missing person: Jasper Kenton, a private investigator. The formidable Eunice Swallows, Kenton's business partner, seems unwilling to give Horton any useful information, and Horton - irritated at being assigned such a low-ranking investigation - suspects the disappearance has a mundane explanation. Either Kenton is with a woman, or he's stolen from a client and absconded with the money. But when Kenton's car turns up, and a shocking discovery is made, things turn serious. Immediately, Horton finds himself embroiled in an investigation that has major personal ramifications, and one in which he has no choice but to withhold vital information. As he struggles to crack the case, he knows it is only a question of time before someone discovers he's kept silent, and when that's revealed, his part in hindering a major investigation will end his career.
DI Andy Horton is called out to examine a gruesome catch by two fishermen: a human hand.Is it that of missing violent criminal Alfie Wright - or is he the killer? And where is the rest of the corpse? Soon Horton finds himself immersed in a complex case where everyone has a reason to lie and no one is who they seem. Assailed by doubts both in his personal and professional life, Horton desperately tries to keep his emotional feelings under control and his focus on his work. His instincts tell him to trust no one and believe nothing; he's not sure though whether this time he'll succeed
England 1950, a country still struggling to come to terms with peace in the grip of austerity and rationing. 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.
A mysterious telephone call sends Horton on a complex and twisted investigation into the death of a local politician twelve years ago, uncovering a trail of lies, secrets and revenge. Inspector Andy Horton receives a mysterious telephone call from Adele Goldsby, the daughter of a dead Portsmouth politician, with an urgent request to meet him on the Isle of Wight ferry because she has something to reveal about her father's death twelve years ago. When she doesn't show, Horton is at first inclined to think it was a hoax until more information comes to light. As he unofficially looks into the circumstances surrounding the politician's death he becomes more convinced that the initial investigation was cursory to say the least, a fact that is borne out by Sergeant Cantelli who was on the case. With increasing concerns over the continued silence from Adele Goldsby and as new evidence is unearthed connected to a long ago killing, Horton believes the politician was murdered. Now all he has to do is convince his bosses.
Inspector Andy Horton receives a mysterious telephone call from Adele Goldsby, the daughter of a dead Portsmouth politician, with an urgent request to meet her on the Isle of Wight ferry because she has something to reveal about her father's death twelve years ago. When she doesn't show, Horton is at first inclined to think it was a hoax until more information comes to light. As he unofficially looks into the circumstances surrounding the politician's death he becomes more convinced that the initial investigation was cursory to say the least, a fact that is borne out by Sergeant Cantelli who was on the case. With increasing concerns over the continued silence from Adele Goldsby and as new evidence is unearthed connected to a long ago killing, Horton believes the politician was murdered. Now all he has to do is convince his bosses.