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Death in Paradise creator, from Marlow, writes crime novel set in 'polite' hometown

Marlow author Robert Thorogood says his latest book gives other characters the chance to share the limelight as murder descends on the River Thames.

Robert, known for creating the hit BBC One series Death in Paradise, has written a fictional novel called ‘The Marlow Murder Club’ in which a single woman living on the outskirts of town witnesses a brutal murder and forms a team of women to try and solve it after the police reject her story.

‘Judith’ is joined by dog-walker Suzie and the wife of the local vicar, Becks, in her quest to solve the mystery.

The book – which took about a year for Robert to write – is the first he has set in his hometown, and said that he wanted the main characters to differ from others he has worked on before.

“I really wanted to write a story where a woman, who does not normally get to be a hero in a detective story, gets to be the hero of a detective story,” he said.

“I wanted to take that character of a woman who lives on her own, and adapt it to 2021, and try and surround her with other women.

“For the last ten years I have been writing about a middle-aged, middle-class white guy who goes to the Caribbean and solves crimes.”

On why he chose Marlow to set the novel, Robert – who is inspired by late author Agatha Christie – added: “I was looking for a town to set it in that seemed very polite, successful and pretty, and you really can’t do better than Marlow.

“I love reading a light-hearted murder mystery novel where there is a challenge for the reader: can you work out who the killer is, or can I as a writer smuggle the killer past you?”

The pandemic has made it hard for Robert to meet his readers and sell books through bookshops, but he has urged anyone interested to buy the novel via hive.co.uk, which specialises in supporting local bookshops.

It is also on offer online at larger outlets such as Amazon and Waterstones, and has been chosen as January’s book of the month for independent bookshops.

“I am very pleased with how the book has come out; I am thrilled to bits with how it has done,” Robert said.

Without going into too much detail, Robert added that the Advertiser plays a key role in the story.,

“The final piece of the jigsaw is provided by the Maidenhead Advertiser,” he said.

He also revealed plans for a potential follow-up book set in Marlow.

“I am starting to plan a second novel which I think is going to be about a host of local celebrities killed in Marlow.

“[The first novel] has really given me the energy to throw myself into book two.”

Death in Paradise, a BBC One drama created by Robert and set in the Caribbean, has returned to our screens for season 10 and will air again tonight (Thursday) at 9pm. 

The pandemic has made filming a ‘huge challenge’ for Robert and his crew but he reserved special mention for his team, who ensured that the episodes were filmed safely and in time for the scheduled January release date.

“It was an amazing logistical achievement, it is phenomenal to see it on the screen,” Robert said.

“Due to the brilliance of the crew we delivered all eight episodes on time.”

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