Murder mysteries on Torbay’s doorstep

The books are 'love letters to Devon'

The books are 'love letters to Devon' - Credit: Archant

Author's books are 'love letters to Devon'

Murder mysteries author Christopher Wilson

Murder mysteries author Christopher Wilson - Credit: Archant

You've never heard of Temple Regis, the prettiest seaside resort in the whole of Britain? That celebrated tourist-trap, just a step away from Torbay?

The one with the highest tally of murders in the land?

Then let me introduce you to Judy Dimont, chief reporter on the Riviera Express newspaper and supersleuth extraordinaire, the heroine of the English Riviera mysteries written by local author TP Fielden.

His quartet of vintage crime novels is set in the 1950s around the Torbay area, and avid followers of Miss Dimont have fun identifying the various local beauty-spots Fielden describes in his pages.

Seated on her faithful moped, Herbert, Judy Dimont is according to the author, 'Miss Marple on wheels', racing round the region in pursuit of murderers and other reprobates lacking in moral fibre.

Though Fielden's books are full of oddball characters, jokes, and wry humour, at the same time they carry a few hidden messages.

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'Every crime writer has a different take on life when they sit down at their keyboard,' says Fielden, in real life Dartmoor-based royal biographer and commentator Christopher Wilson. 'For me, these books are my love-letters to Devon, a place I visited all my life until one day I just came down here and couldn't bear to go home.

'So first and foremost, I tell readers what a wonderful place this is. Second, I remind them that though the 1950s always seem a quiet and untroubled time, many women who'd done miraculous things during the war were now expected to get back where they belonged - in the kitchen. And Miss Dimont, with a wartime background in Naval Intelligence, is there to remind everyone that a woman's place is not always in the home!

'Third, I leave the blood-and-guts type of novel-writing to others - my books are designed to amuse and to make people laugh, not to shock.'

The English Riviera Murders, published by HQ/HarperCollins, have won critical acclaim from national newspapers and magazines and are now available in paperback/Kindle from your local bookstore (when open) or online.