• Covers of NO Accident by Robert Crouch
    Murder, Rob Wrote

    Do you know what your book’s about?

    I thought I did. There I was, at the front of the church hall, being introduced by the chairperson, looking forward to my first public event as an author. My appearance in the local paper the week before seems to have drawn a good number of people. They look keen, friendly and welcoming, laughing as I recount some of the strange and amusing incidents from my time as an environmental health officer (EHO). I should tell them more about my work. Instead I launch into my talk. Holding up a copy of my first published book, No Accident, I tell my audience to feel free to ask questions at any…

  • Murder, Rob Wrote

    Why I Wrote No Accident

    When you set out, you never quite know how things will turn out. I wanted to create something new, something different and exciting to entertain murder mystery readers. No Accident, the first book in the Downland Murder Mystery series, was actually the third book I wrote, featuring my sleuth Kent Fisher. The first novel wasn’t quite good enough. It led to a second, No Bodies, which was intended to be the first book in the series, but couldn’t be. Picture the scene. Kent Fisher is approached by an old family friend, whose wife has been missing for a year. When asked to investigate, he responds by saying, “Who you think…

  • Confused man
    Murder, Rob Wrote

    Why do I write murder mystery novels?

    The easy answer would be to say I love Agatha Christie, crime dramas and complex puzzles. I was huge fan of the Famous Five by Enid Blyton when I was a child. I was an even bigger fan of Scooby Doo when it came on the TV in the early 70s. To me it was a US version of the Famous Five, updated and made funny by that lovable dog and his Scooby snacks. I was 12 or 13 when I read Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Seventeen when I tackled Murder on the Orient Express. After that, crime didn’t feature in my reading until the 1980s, when I discovered Sue…

  • Frustrated writer
    Murder, Rob Wrote

    A funny thing happened on the way to publication

    You’ll never believe what happened when I wrote my first murder mystery novel. That’s right, I couldn’t solve the murder. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m jinxed or far too clever for my own good. All I did was set out to create a different kind of detective. That’s what all crime writers want to do, isn’t it? The trouble is, my detective wasn’t a detective or a police officer. I couldn’t have someone walk into his office and hire him to investigate. As he wasn’t a police officer, he couldn’t go out and investigate a murder. Equally, he wasn’t some older woman in a village who solves…

  • What book image

    What’s Your Book About?

    It started with a simple question. It became something of a nightmare. My first public speaking engagement as an author resulted from some welcome publicity in my local newspaper for my first novel, No Accident. Having trained food handlers as part of my day job as an environmental health officer (EHO) and spoken at seminars, I enjoyed talking to the public. Or so I thought. I’m given a rousing introduction by the chair person. I stand and make eye contact with the audience. They appear friendly and welcoming, listening intently to my biography. Growing confidence, I slip in some of the strange and amusing incidents I encountered as an EHO.…

  • Covers of NO Accident by Robert Crouch

    No Alternative (Or why I wrote No Accident)

    I didn’t need to write No Accident. I’d already written No Bodies, a perfectly good story to launch the Kent Fisher murder mystery series. A UK agent had read it from cover to cover, keen to see how an environmental health officer (EHO) would solve a murder. Alas, she didn’t take me or the book on. It needed polishing, some work on the characters. I was getting closer to a publishing deal, so why didn’t I do the work, improve the story and resubmit it? Something was missing. In No Bodies, there’s a reference to Kent Fisher helping the police round up a drugs gang. Yeah, just the sort of…

  • Write

    Love is up in the air

    (With apologies to John Paul Young for corrupting his song.) In my Valentine’s Day email to my Readers Group, I gave them a look under the bonnet of Kent Fisher’s turbulent love life. From the outset, I gave Kent a fear of commitment. It offered the chance to have people come and go from his life as the series developed, keeping the stories fresh. But the characteristic isn’t restricted to his romantic encounters. It goes to the core of him, rooted in childhood disappointments and the wise words of a teacher, who wanted to lift his spirits. There’s always something better around the corner. This gives him a restless nature.…

  • Food hygiene rating sticker

    An environmental health officer solving murders?

    ‘Kent Fisher is a wonderful creation and unique in crime literature.‘ Susan Corcoran, wrote this on 14th April 2018 when she reviewed No Bodies, the second Kent Fisher murder mystery. While I’d never considered him like this, I hope he joins a long list of amateur sleuths who’ve graced literature and TV screens. A quick glance at crime fiction novels reveals sleuths who are village gossips, ecologists, forensic archaeologists, taxi drivers, obituary writers, magicians, or retired people in a care home. TV crime has had local radio presenters, pensioners and gardeners solving murders. But let’s take a reality check for a moment. You wouldn’t pop into your local town hall…

  • Robert with his westie, Harvey

    Moi? A cosy mystery author?

    From the moment No Accident was released by a US publisher in 2016, I’ve refuted any claim that my novels are cosy mysteries. Why would I do this, you might ask? The cosy mystery genre offers a huge market within crime fiction. A simple search on Amazon will confirm this. Yet under this extensive umbrella, there are a significant number of single, elderly ladies solving murders in quaint villages, or on cruise ships, or in stately homes. Many of them bake cakes, arrange flowers or run bookshops. Many have cute dogs or cats. It’s all sweet, friendly and safe – even though people are being bumped off at an alarming…

  • Write

    More than a Murder Mystery

    Isn’t it lovely when readers surprise you? Here I am, writing murder mysteries for crime fiction lovers, doing my best to create the most baffling and convoluted plots possible. Being a huge fan and admirer of Agatha Christie, I’ve studied her approach and techniques, determined to learn from the best-selling crime writer of all time. When the reviews and feedback come in, I’m delighted when readers enjoy the plots, the complexity and the unexpected twists that lead to an exciting climax. But many of them love the characters and the backstory. They want Kent Fisher to find the woman of his dreams, to deal with his boss and the bureaucracy…

  • Sue Grafton

    A hero for today’s murder mysteries

    Have you ever read a book or watched a TV programme and wished you could write something as good? Neither had I until I saw the original Inspector Morse series. The superb characterisation, complex and intriguing plots, and the beautiful Oxford settings captivated me. About the same time, BBC 1 aired the Miss Marple series, adapted from Agatha Christie’s books. Both programmes evoked the same emotion and desire to write a complex murder mystery. At this point, I should tell you I was already a writer. Not a successful one, unless you include the national short story competition I won at the age of 12. That early enthusiasm and promise…