A local crime writer has beaten more than 400 applicants to become the third best book read on World Book Day.
Pauline Rowson earned the accolade yesterday for her book In Cold Daylight, a murder mystery thriller about firefighters.
The Hayling Island author was nominated by publishers Fathom for World Book Day author of the year – which attracted more than 3,000 votes.
The 52-year-old, of Rogers Mead, said: 'I am really pleased to have come third in the competition of so many entrants, it is such a sense of achievement – of course I am a bit disappointed I haven't won.'
The ex-firefighter's wife was inspired to write the book after her husband Bob told her stories of firefighters he knew getting cancer.
The book is set in Portsmouth and tells the story of a cancer-suffering firefighter called Jack who is murdered. His friend Adam investigates and has to piece the clues together.
She added: 'I love my area and I love murder mysteries, so all my books encompass these aspects. They are all marine mysteries – it is interesting to think that living by the sea can wash away a lot of clues.
'I have always loved writing and now I can do it full-time. I used to have my own marketing company to subsidise my hobby but now it is my career.'
Portsmouth Grammar School hosted the event to find the best read.
Playing on the pun of reading being 'intense', it was decided the reading would be 'in tents'.
Head of English at the school Claire Jepson said: 'This was a huge undertaking to host the event but everyone in the school is buzzing.
'Lots of people have bought copies of Pauline's book and she has even signed some for our library – it couldn't have gone better.'
The nominated books were drawn from a long list of 100 titles drawn up by judges and more than 3,000 people voted for their favourites to come up with the top 10.
The overall winner was Boy A by Jonathan Trigell, which was recently turned into a Channel 4 drama.