My father taught me to read when I was about four. After breakfast, he would open the Sunday paper and start to read. One Sunday, I clambered into his lap to take a closer look at the big headlines and photos. He told me what the stories were about and it wasn’t long before I began to recognise words and understand what they meant. From here, and with help at school, I moved onto books.
When I was eight, my father suffered a double heart attack and died. This felt so unfair. The person who’d taught me to read, who’d encouraged me to read books and discover new worlds had gone. A sense of injustice burned inside me. I found its echo in many of the books I read, such as the Chronicles of Narnia, which dealt with good overcoming evil.
My interest in crime started in my teenage years with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, shortly followed by Agatha Christie, Poirot, in Murder on the Orient Express. These authors fuelled my love of puzzles and mysteries and stirred me to write my first murder mystery novel at the age of 17.
While I never lost my love of reading or murder mysteries, life intervened, namely marriage and making a home. When I watched Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple on TV in the late 1980s, the urge to write a complex and baffling whodunit returned.
First I had to create the kind of character that would engage readers. Sue Grafton, author of the Alphabet Murder series, featuring PI Kinsey Millhone, showed me how to do that with her wonderful books.
I’d worked with the police on many occasions during my career as an environmental health officer (EHO), but I didn’t know enough to write a police procedural. The prospect of a private eye interested me until I realised that an amateur sleuth offered me the chance to show how an ordinary person could solve a murder.
Kent Fisher began to take shape, but it wasn’t until I wrote my first blog, entitled Radio Star, that he came alive. The local radio station wanted to interview me about the new ban on smoking in public. I wrote a humorous blog to capture the moment. Aware that a blog bearing my name might cause problems with my employer, I let Kent Fisher recount my experience and Fisher’s Fables was created.
Over the next few years, Fisher’s Fables developed a life of its own, filled with humour and characters from the first two Kent Fisher novels I’d written. Finally I’d found my author voice, transforming the novels.
No Accident, was published by a US publisher in June 2016. The long journey that started with Arthur Conan Doyle had finally ended with a new amateur sleuth to entertain readers.
Solving a Murder – a short video on how I came to write murder mystery novels.
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“Robert Crouch’s writing is excellent and I can’t recommend it highly enough.” Linda’s Book Bag, 2020.
“I must commend Robert Crouch for the way he is developing this hugely engaging series.” Hair Past A Freckle.