Award-winning author turns Southsea into an outdoor escape room with his fascinating mystery guide

A LOVE of history and the place he calls home has inspired Southsea author Jack Wells to create a mystery book that all the family can enjoy.

By Kimberley Barber
Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 11:04 am
Jack Wells, of Mystery Guides, with his new book
Jack Wells, of Mystery Guides, with his new book

The founder of Mystery Guides and recent winner of the Start Up Business of the Year in the The News’ Business Excellence Awards 2021 has chosen to set his latest book in Southsea and include many landmarks and historical events.

And his books are more than just books – they turn locations into a puzzle and lead readers on a tour of the area with fascinating clues, historical anecdotes and facts.

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The News Business Excellence Awards 2021 Pictured is: Jack Wells of Mystery Guides. Picture: Keith Woodland (080721-37)

Jack, who started Mystery Guides in 2019, said: ‘I’ve created a fictional story that is based on fact and incorporates local history. I was born here and the history is something that I love about the place.

‘You will find reference to the Spithead Mutiny, Mary Rose and the Battle of Southsea - people can learn a lot about the place as they walk round Southsea picking up clues.

‘This definitely isn’t a history book but it is full of historical snippets that I hope people will find interesting.’

Having studied history at university, Jack put his love of the past to good use by leading guided tours of Old Portsmouth and this further developed with a treasure hunt element.

‘I ended up developing an app because I wasn’t always available to conduct the tours and then I wrote my first book.

‘The book ended up being more successful than the app and I’ve gone on to write a whole series from there,’ he said

Jack will be launching his Southsea book at the Queens Hotel on Friday, August 6 with characters from Southsea Mystery Adventure brought to life and the chance to meet the author.

The Queens Hotel is featured in the book and is supporting Jack’s venture. Everyone who buys a copy at the launch event will be entered into a prize draw to win a family ticket for the final Kids Party of the summer on August 23.

A grand prize of an overnight stay for two will also be on offer to the family that solves all the clues in the book and reveals the mystery. Participants need to tag the hotel in photos as they travel around Southsea.

General manager Catherine Austen said: ‘We love the idea that Jack’s book is something that families can follow to find out more about Southsea - and it’s an activity that kids and parents can do together in the summer holidays.’

Jack has also written Mystery Guides about Old Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath, Brighton and the West End.

His most recent one was based on Winchester, called The Mystery of the Bishop's Golden Tankard.

The books costs £9.99 from