A fresh approach to crime fiction

Health to homicide

Recently, interest has focused on my transition from environmental health officer (EHO) to crime writer. To many it seems like an unorthodox, somewhat unlikely route to take. Then again, the
environmental health profession doesn’t exactly promote itself that well. Most people don’t realise that EHOs carry out complex investigations, which involve interviews under caution, evidence
gathering and prosecution for criminal offences. We use the same powers as the police and in some cases have greater rights of entry than them. While EHOs may lack the infrastructure and support services, like scenes of crime and forensic laboratories, we use the same investigation skills.

That’s what I wanted to demonstrate through Kent Fisher in No Accident and hopefully in subsequent murder mysteries. The stories will also give an insight into some of the interesting and often
intriguing areas of work covered by EHOs.

After the Eastbourne Herald published Murderous Possibilities of Health and Safety on 19th August, Uckfield FM radio followed with a similar news feature on their website, entitled Health and safety … and murder in the Downs. This led to an interview on Thursday, 25th August, on Stephan Butler’s morning show, where I had the chance to chat about my former career and how it influenced the
writing of No Accident. The conversation focused on food hygiene ratings, how to tell if a restaurant is dodgy, and workplace accident investigations.

I managed to expand on the environmental health topics during my first talk as an author on 26th
August.

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Held in the library of the Hawthorns, Eastbourne, my talk included a whistle stop journey through my career, including the mayor who fell over a ‘fall from heights’ exhibit, how to quell noise complaints by playing even louder music in your car as you arrive, and mouse infested pub kitchens.

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The second Kent Fisher murder mystery, No Bodies, will feature E. coli O157 and a mobile caterer who’s serving up more than dodgy burgers.

Finally, one of my professional colleagues supported the idea that an EHO could investigate murder. A former police officer turned EHO, he commented on a feature in the September issue of
Environmental Health News, which dropped onto doormats on Saturday, 27th August. Inside was an interview with yours truly and an epic book review from the editor, Will Hatchett, which explained the concept behind No Accident.

The feature and review are not available online, but if you’d like to take a look, I’ve posted copies on the new Scrapbook page of my website. As always, there are more details and photos in my monthly newsletter, The Tollingdon Tribune, which you can subscribe to using the form below.

Up until recently, I didn’t realise how much interest there was, especially in the media, about the
environmental health aspects of my writing and novel. Maybe people know less about the
environmental health profession than I thought.

Maybe you could let me know if that’s your experience, or if it’s something that would make you more likely to read a novel like No Accident.

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Please let me know what you think