New fiction

9780719818141Constable on Trial by Nicholas Rhea

Whilst serving as an aide to the CID, Detective Constable Rhea is kept busy in the seaside resort of Strensford as he endeavours to trace a stolen garden spade, the thief of a makeshift hearse with a corpse on board, and the phantom knicker-pincher of Harbour Rise. Throughout his early days Nick, like many other detectives, nurses an ambition to arrest a murderer, but no opportunities come his way – until a killer on the run seeks refuge in Strensford and an elderly lady is found dead at home.

Nicholas Rhea is the pen name for Peter N. Walker, formerly an inspector with the North Yorkshire Police and the creator of the Constable series of novels, the inspiration for the long-running and critically acclaimed ITV drama series Heartbeat. As Peter N. Walker he is the author of Portrait of the North York Moors. He lives in his beloved North Yorkshire.

Buy your copy of Constable on Trial here.

9780719817618The Naked Soul by Alexander Lindsay

Reverend Jack Mallund knows his SAS regimental
reunion party won’t be for the faint-hearted. When a
pornographic movie is played, he turns away, but
before doing so, the face of one jumps out at him with
a familiarity that makes him sick: it is his teenage
daughter, missing, presumed dead. That night turns Jack’s life upside down all over again. With police reluctant to reopen the case, Jack must go it alone. His faith is pushed to the extreme and his
conscience to the precipice of insanity as he fights to find his daughter.

Alexander Lindsay was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. As a
journalist he has lived and worked in the Middle East,
New York, Paris, the UK, Ireland and the Greek Islands.
Based in Belfast, he covered the Northern Ireland conflict
as staff correspondent for the Sunday Express. He has been newspaper proprietor,
newspaper and magazine editor, columnist and national
newspaper theatre critic. His previous book Dollar
was published by Robert Hale in 2012. Find out more
about the author at his website: www.alexanderlindsay.com.

Buy your copy of The Naked Soul here.

Not My Affair by Pam Fudge

Just as Fay Ryan is about to break the news to her husband
Jack that they are to become parents, he gives her a gift
intended for the mistress Fay knew nothing about – a
mistress who is also Jack’s boss, Iona. Jack ends the affair, but odd things start to happen –complaints about Fay at work, a stolen item placed in her
bag in a shop. It is only when Iona confronts Fay in person
that they realize she has started a frightening campaign of
harassment in her determination to win Jack back.

Pamela Fudge is now a full-time writer after working as an administrator
at Bournemouth University for many years. She has written poetry since
she was a child and has had short stories published in most of the
national women’s magazines. Her previous books, also published by
Robert Hale, include High Infidelity, A Blessing in Disguise, Second
Best, A Change for the Better, Never be Lonely, Turn Back Time, Not
What It Seems and It’s in the Cards. You can find out more about her at http://www.pamfudge.co.uk

Buy your copy of Not My Affair here.

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Back to the beat: Constable Nick returns

Nicholas Rheaby Peter Walker

When ITV’s Heartbeat ended in 2009, I decided to bring a close to my series of Constable books upon which the TV drama was based. They chronicled the work of a village bobby in the North York Moors during the 1960s and the TV series became hugely popular in the UK and overseas – with repeats still being screened.

The first book was Constable on the Hill (1979); the last was, appropriately, Constable Over the Hill (2011) with 35 others in between. In transferring these to the small screen, I became the Heartbeat script consultant, attending planning meetings and production both on location and in the studio. What impressed me was the dedication of the cast and production teams and their attention to detail, which produced a response from a serving policeman who told me he had no idea that ITV made documentaries about the police (I had to tell him it was a drama, not a true story) and another policeman commented, “I wish we had a sergeant like Blaketon.”

This indicated the efforts made to produce a realistic police series. One surprising outcome was that applications to join the North Yorkshire Police soared, including some from urban officers who thought a transfer to such a rural spot would be most enjoyable.

After the series concluded, several viewers and readers told me how much they missed the exploits of Constable Nick, Sergeant Blaketon, PC Alf Ventress and a certain rustic rogue called Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. It seems they also enjoyed the countryside and rural atmosphere. After a time, I decided I could relate more tales, setting them several years before Nick became the village bobby at Aidensfield.

The new series of Constable stories begins with Constable on Trial. As it was the ambition of many young constables to work in the Criminal Investigation Department, I decided to transfer Nick into civilian clothes and have him working as an aide to CID. It transpired Nick had been selected as a potential aide after arresting a thief whom he had noticed wearing a raincoat that had been stolen two years earlier (this was a true tale, it was my own coat!).

In those days – the late 1950s/early 1960s, suitable young constables were offered a short attachment to their local CID, being perhaps a period of three or six months. They were known as aides to CID but their attachment was really a test to determine whether or not they were suitable for non-uniform duties. This provided me with the title of the first in this new series – Constable on Trial. The “trial” was Constable Nick’s test period as an aide.

However, working as a police officer in plain clothes differed greatly from patrolling in uniform. Constable Nick was investigating crimes, not only those occurring in Strensford, but others in the entire Strensford Division which included a large rural area with lots of villages, a coastline and some busy market towns.

Among the crimes Nick had to investigate as an aide were break-ins on an estate near the town centre; car crime which was becoming more prevalent as people regularly parked their vehicles overnight on the streets, often with valuables on display; a thief taking cash from collection plates in a church; a murder in far-off Leeds and the many vehicles that were taken without consent. There were secret files, too, most dating to World War II when traitors were operating in Strensford, and a serious complaint from a householder who claimed that one of his garden gnomes had been stolen. It was all in a day’s work for Detective Constable Nick.

9780719818141I hope to write more tales about Constable Nick’s work as an aide to CID as I enjoy producing them, but whether the yarns will attract interest from TV is not something I can answer. I know my agent will be offering the books to a range of markets in the UK and overseas, but like a detective keeping observations on a suspect criminal, all I can do is wait and see what happens….

Buy your copy of Constable on Trial here.

New general fiction titles

An Unholy Mess by Joyce Cato9780719815430

In the small Cotswold village of Heyford Bassett, vicar’s wife Monica Noble throws a party for the village’s new residents. The guests include Margaret Franklyn and her philandering husband Sean, a celebrity chef and her cartoonist beau, a retired Oxford Don with a secret, a forty-something divorcee, and the owner of a chain of gyms. A shotgun blast heralds the discovery of the body of Margaret Franklyn and suspicion falls on a community already terrified at the thought of a murderer in their ranks. Who to blame? The husband? Monica’s daughter who had been accused of stealing from the deceased? Monica swings into action with the local DI to save her daughter and solve the crime.

Joyce Cato was born in Oxford and worked as a secretary before becoming a full-time writer.

Buy your copy of An Unholy Mess here.

Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey by Nicholas Rhea9780719815751

When a woman confesses to Father Will, one of the monk-constables at Maddleskirk Abbey, that she has committed murder, he can do nothing but absolve her from her sin. The Seal of Confession is absolute. He cannot discuss her crime, ask the identity of her victim, or share the responsibility of this information with anyone. His hands are tied. When a body is found in the nearby woodland, his moral dilemma grows. Detective Chief Superintendent “Nabber” Napier and his team have a murder to solve, but monks sworn by oath to silence are hardly the ideal candidates for questioning… When the murder weapon is discovered, concealed in the Abbey, and the detectives learn of the mysterious disappearance – and violent past – of one of the Abbey’s monks, the race is on to find the culprit before anybody else gets hurt. Questions need to be answered and confessions must be made.

Nicholas Rhea is the pen name for Peter N. Walker, formerly an inspector with the North Yorkshire Police and the creator of the Constable series of novels, the inspiration for the long-running and critically acclaimed ITV drama series Heartbeat. As Peter N. Walker he is the author of Portrait of the North York Moors. He lives in North Yorkshire.

Buy your copy of Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey here.

Dead and Gone by Bill Kitson

9780719815829Dean Wilson knows any relationship with Naomi Macaulay is doomed. Her family are Wilson Macaulay Industries, founders of Bishopton Investment Group. His sister, Linda, was the Group’s financial director until she vanished four years ago, around the same time as millions of pounds of investors’ money disappeared, and the Group collapsed amidst claims of fraud and embezzlement. When Dean is charged with assault, DI Mike Nash’s enquiries cause him to reopen the fraud case, and soon Nash has several murder investigations on his hands. Meanwhile, when complaints are made about email scams, computer analyst, Tina Silver, is brought in to help examine the software. Connections to executives of Wilson Macaulay Industries begin to emerge. After an independent auditor vanishes, Nash and his colleagues must determine who is guilty, who is innocent, who is dead and who is gone.

Bill Kitson, a retired finance executive, was born in West Yorkshire. He is an avid fan of cricket and cryptic crosswords and is also the former chairman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle. Dead and Gone is the eight outing for DI Mike Nash, following Kitson’s gripping thrillers Depth of Despair, Chosen, Minds That Hate, Altered Egos, Back-Slash, Identity Crisis and Buried in the Past.

Buy your copy of Dead and Gone here.

The Prosecco Fortune by Stella Whitelaw9780719815386

Emma Chandler has a comfortable life as junior partner of a firm of chartered accountants in London. When she is sent to Venice to investigate the disappearance of their client Signor Marco dell’Orto’s fortune, her safe lifestyle is capsized and she is thrown into a disorientating and fast-paced world of deceit and crime. She begins to fall for Marco while staying in his palazzo, and her arrival does not remain unnoticed in the Venetian backstreets for long. Marco’s computers are hacked and his phone is bugged. Emma is being watched. The body of a young woman wearing Emma’s raincoat is found, floating in a lagoon. Should Emma take these ominous signs as a cue to leave? Or should she stay to complete the job she was sent to do? Emma must figure out, with the help of the Venetian police and the computer expert Professor Windsor, who is behind the stolen fortune.

Stella Whitelaw began her writing career as a cub reporter and rose to become the first female chief reporter in London. She writes short stories for national women’s magazines and has won many competitions. Her previous novels Portrait of a Murder and Money Never Sleeps were also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of The Prosecco Fortune here.

OUT NOW: A Full Churchyard by Nicholas Rhea


9780719813658A FULL CHURCHYARD

Detective Inspector Montague Pluke, of CID, is England’s most superstitious police officer. With crime at its lowest level for years, he decides to conduct a cold-case review.

But there are no major unsolved crimes so, alerted by his wife, Millicent, to a large number of recent deaths – all attributed to natural causes – his expert knowledge of superstitions and folklore lead him to identify areas of suspicion sufficient to justify re-opening a case. Could an undetected mass-murderer be operating in Crickledale?

His inquiries reveal that many of the deceased had been attended by Crickledale Voluntary Carers and he quickly produces a list of possible suspects. Indeed, the entire team of carers falls under suspicion – and Detective Inspector Pluke’s wife, Millicent, is one of them.

NICHOLAS RHEA

Nicholas Rhea is the pen-name for Peter N. Walker, formerly an inspector with the North Yorkshire Police and the creator of the Constable series of novels, the inspiration for the long-running and critically acclaimed ITV drama series Heartbeat. As Peter N. Walker, he is the author of Portrait of the North York Moors. He lives in North Yorkshire.

To buy A Full Churchyard, click here.

Ebook Spring Sale Titles

Spring has arrived and with it some great new books for your e-reader, currently on sale for under a pound!

EVT saleHead to the country with two of our most beloved authors. Three titles from the great E.V. Thomspon are available: God’s Highlander, Blue Dress Girl and The Bonds of Earth. Alternatively, head further north to Yorkshire and try two reads from Nicholas Rhea, the author of the Constable… books: Constable Across and the Moors and Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey.

kitsonIf crime fiction is more your style, two of Bill Kitson’s Mike Nash crime stories are part of the sale: Depth of Despair and Chosen.

Author Wendy Perriam heads to Broken Places for her story but if you prefer things a little more regal then don’t despair – A Crown of Despair by Jenny Mandeville is also part of the sale.

Sh! A Vow of Silence by Veronica Black is available, or you could enjoy a Star-Crossed Summer with Sarah Stanley.

Nicholas RheaIf the spring has made you want to travel the world, you can head to Berlin with The Boy from Berlin by Michael Parker or see for yourself what living in Venice is really like with Polly Coles’s The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice.

If you like your stories dark then try The Pershore Poisoners by Kerry Tombs or wartime fiction The Lambs by Peter James Cottrell.

For those with a Nook, there are also two great Maggie Lane titles available on Jane Austen.

Jane AustenHappy reading and here’s to more great weather and reading outdoors!

OUT NOW: Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey by Nicholas Rhea

Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey by Nicholas RheaWhen Constable Nick of Aidensfield retired from the Force, he was asked to advise the monks of Maddleskirk Abbey and its adjoining College about security. He suggested a small private police force of monks who would patrol in police uniform. With help from retired Sergeant Blaketon and ex-PC Alf Ventress, along with some practical input from Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, they trained the monkstables under the leadership of Prior Tuck.

But their litter-busting skills, car parking abilities and marshalling of visitors were set aside when a murdered man was found in a stone coffin in the crypt. Now they had to be real police officers as well as becoming detectives.

A murder team led by Detective Chief Superintendent ‘Nabber’ Napier
found themselves using the expertise and knowledge of the monkstables
particularly when an important pupil disappeared. And who was the sinister sculptor
who fled as the pressure intensified to find the killer and the missing boy?

Nicholas Rhea tells us, ‘Both York Minster and Salisbury Cathedral have their own private police forces who work with professional police officers when necessary. It seemed logical to create a small unit of trained constables to patrol a living abbey that is open to the public, especially as some of monks in my local abbey are trained fire officers who wear uniforms when tackling blazes.’

Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey by Nicholas Rhea is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%.

Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey by Nicholas Rhea

Nicholas Rhea discusses his ‘Constable…’ series

constable on the hillNicholas Rhea is the pen-name for Peter N. Walker, formerly an inspector with the North Yorkshire Police and the creator of the Constable series, the inspiration for the long-running and critically acclaimed ITV drama series Heartbeat. As Peter N. Walker, he is the author of Portrait of the North York Moors and many murders and mysteries. He lives in North Yorkshire.

Here, he talks about the Constable books and where they all began.

Several years before ‘Constable on the Hill’ and the ensuing series featuring the work of a rural bobby, I wrote ‘Constable on the Town’ highlighting hilarious goings-on witnessed by police officers working night shifts. I offered it to several publishers one of whom rejected it with the comment, ‘There’s no market for Yorkshire humour.’ I put the book in the loft and forgot about it, continuing to write crime novels for Robert Hale.

Then early one evening, the landlord of the White Swan opposite my cottage asked if I could advise a customer about getting his book published. Off I went with the landlord (Brian) treating us to a pint apiece. When I asked the customer what sort of book he had written, he said it was about hilarious happenings to a country vet on the North York moors – including my village.

Considering myself very wise about reasons for rejecting humorous Yorkshire books, I told my new friend ‘There’s no market for Yorkshire humour’ but he went ahead anyway, using the pseudonym James Herriot. His success prompted me to write a similar series featuring a rural bobby. After all, I had been a village copper and called my book ‘Constable on the Hill’ because my police house was on a hill top.

The book proved very successful and so I unearthed my ‘Constable on the Town’ from its grave in the loft and re-wrote it as ‘Constable on the Prowl’, not then considering a rural series. ‘Prowl’ was set in a seaside town, but the success of ‘Hill’, especially its transformation into the hit ITV series ‘Heartbeat’, prompted me to continue the rural theme in thirty-six titles. In 2011 I brought the series to a close with ‘Constable over the Hill’ as I felt the books had run their course.

Nicholas RheaWriting them and then seeing my characters come to life on the TV screen was a wonderful experience as was my work with the cast and crew.

A couple of weeks before writing these notes, my wife and I were on holiday in North Wales when we met a couple from Australia – and they were still watching repeats of ‘Heartbeat’ back home, more than 20 years since the first episode in 1992.

However, some favourite characters from those books and ‘Heartbeat’ live on in a projected new series centred upon Maddleskirk Abbey and College with its team of monkstables – monks who work as policemen.

The first is MURDER AT MADDLESKIRK ABBEY.

– Nicholas Rhea

Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey is published on 30 October 2013