New crime novel from Hayling Island author tells the tale of a mysterious 1951 murder in a coastal town

A HAYLING Island crime author’s latest mystery novel is taking readers back to the 1950s.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 12:30 pm

Pauline Rowson’s new book Death in the Nets, published on October 4, is her third Inspector Ryga mystery.

In the novel, which is set in January 1951 in the small fishing town of Brixham in Devon, the body of a man stabbed through the heart is found tangled up in fishing nets.

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Pauline Rowson, with her previous novel, Lethal Waves, with Condor Ferries. Condor's conventional ferry, Commodore Clipper, plays a key role in novel, acting as a pivotal scene for one of the book’s mysterious events.

Scotland Yard's Inspector Ryga is tasked to discover why the dead man who left the town 11 years ago has returned - and why someone hated him enough to murder him.

Pauline, who has lived on Hayling Island for 30 years, said: ‘While it was great to take refuge in 1951 and escape the news on Covid, it wasn’t exactly a picnic back then.

‘Housing was in dire supply with people living in Nissan huts on disused airfields and abandoned army camps, in converted torpedo boats, old houseboats, railway carriages and shacks.

‘There was still rationing on some foodstuffs, an acute shortage of many consumer goods, make-do-and mend was still very much the order of the day and black marketeers flourished.

‘Added to that there was war in Korea, and the cloud of nuclear war hanging over everyone.

‘Life was pretty tough for many including my fictional sleuth, Inspector Ryga.

‘Scotland Yard detectives were often called in to investigate crimes around the country at a moment’s notice and because of Ryga's merchant navy background he is a specialist in solving baffling coastal crimes.'

All Pauline’s 24 crime novels are set around the coast, and the author is best known for her contemporary DI Andy Horton novels, which are set in and around Portsmouth, the city where she was raised.

Pauline added: 'In the 1950s there were no specialist crime scene officers, no rushing about in fast cars, no mobile phones, only the Mackenzie Trench Police Box, and of course, no central databases or DNA, so researching and writing the Inspector Ryga novels is very different to writing my DI Andy Horton novels but still highly enjoyable.’

Death in the Nets is available in paperback (£7.99) and as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle (£6.80).

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