Kent Fisher is an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel.
In addition to the day job, he runs an animal sanctuary at the foot of the South Downs in East Sussex, England. As well as the horses, donkeys and goats he rescues, he takes in abandoned or abused dogs for rehoming. But when he takes in a badly treated West Highland White Terrier, Kent can’t bear to let him go. Naming him Columbo after the famous TV detective, Kent has a new friend and assistant.
One morning in September, assisted by his colleague, Gemma, he investigates a fatal work accident at Tombstone Adventure Park and discovers a murder.
But that’s only the start of his problems.
Why choose an environmental health officer?
As an environmental health officer (EHO) with 40 years experience, I often thought we had the skills, connections and tenacity to solve murders. We’re law enforcement officers with powers of entry similar, and in some cases better than the police. We’re well-equipped and skilled to carry out complex investigations, ensure compliance with legal standards, and prosecute serious offenders when necessary. We work with the police, fire and rescue services, and national bodies, including the Environment Agency, Public Health England, the Health and Safety Executive and the Food Standards Agency. We also forge great relations with local businesses and organisations to improve standards in our local authority districts.
During my many years at Wealden District Council in East Sussex, I would often imagine murders among the picturesque villages of the district or on the magnificent hills and valleys of the South Downs.
Most people don’t really know who we are or what we do.
Most people think of us as the officers who check hygiene standards in restaurant kitchens, but we also cover workplace health and safety, including accident investigation, pollution control, substandard housing, liquor and taxi licensing, and infectious disease control, which can cover anything from food poisoning to tattooing. We also assess the impact on the environment and others from planning applications, and work on public health issues, such as healthy eating and obesity.
A fatal work accident involving machinery is at the heart of the first Kent Fisher mystery, No Accident..
A dodgy mobile caterer and Infectious disease control features in the second Kent Fisher mystery, No Bodies, when a young girl is taken to hospital with kidney failure.
We’re at the heart of local communities, protecting people and the environment, improving conditions and working with others to improve the quality of life.
Environmental health offers endless opportunities and settings for crime stories, allowing me to show glimpses of worlds most people have never seen.
For years, I wrote a humorous blog about my experiences as the manager of an environmental health team. Those blogs are now captured in Fisher’s Fables, which is available on Amazon, like the novels.
Alternatively, why not join my Reader Group and receive a free copy of A Health Inspector Calls, featuring humorous cases from my environmental health career. Please add your details to the form below, safe in the knowledge that I will never share your personal information or spam you.
If you’d like to know more about the work of EHOs, you can find out more at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health website.