Stephen’s latest Peak District-set thriller is out now

Fans of award-winning local crime writer Stephen Booth will know that they are now back on duty again from this week with his latest murder mystery Secrets of Death, writes Tony Spittles.

This is the 16th of his crime series set in the Derbyshire Peak District which started with a Millennium debut for detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry in Black Dog.

Since then they have been plenty of ups and downs in the rank and relationships for the “local boy” and the ambitious newcomer eager to leave her West Midlands roots behind as they have cracked many inventive and ingenious investigations that show that Stephen Booth is a master of his game over and above many of his fellow thriller writers.

This has been shown already in an impressive range of cases probed and solved by the duo, who often seem to be working against each rather than as a team.

Their score sheet includes going back in time to a World War Two crash of an RAF bomber carrying crews’ wages to Lancashire that has connections with the deaths of three people more than 50 years on (Blood on the Tongue - 2002); a fatal house fire where clues are found on the other side of Europe (Scared to Live - 2006) or out on the rainswept Derbyshire moors as they become entangled in the violent world of hunting and hunt saboteurs, horse theft and the “meat trade.” (The Kill Call - 2009).

The originality of these plots - which are currently being developed as a TV programme - is taken up a few notches in Secrets of Death, the latest Cooper & Fry foray, as the detectives are confronted by an ever-increasing number of suicides in the beautiful Heeley Bank area of the Peak District.

Det Insp Cooper is reluctant to use the phrase “suicide tourism,” but is forced to keep an open mind when the latest victim, Roger Farrell, like others, is found to be in possession of a business card that simply says ‘The Secrets of Death.’

With leads thin on the ground, the answer may lie with Cooper’s prickly former colleague, Nottingham-based Det Sgt Fry, who had been about to arrest Farrell before his death.

Distance may keep the partners apart, but they are forced to put the past to one side as they have to find who is co-ordinating the suicides before more people die.

The 394-page Secrets of Death, published by Sphere, goes on sale today, Thursday, June 16, price £18.99 and is also available as an EBook or as a digital download from Hachette Audio.

Besides writing, Stephen is also busy lecturing, meeting various groups up and down the country as well as going on a busy schedule of hosting book signings around the area at Bakewell, Chesterfield, Chapel-e-le-Frith, Cromford and Matlock.

He will also be joining a crime day open to the public at Newark Castle on Saturday, July 5, when other authors taking part will include Rebecca Bradley, Eva Dolan, Michael Fowler, Stuart Gibbon, Larry Henderson, Mike Pannett, Nick Quantrill, Mei Trow, Richard Venables and Sarah Ward.

Further details are available at www.stephen-booth.co.uk