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Researching for an Art Marvik crime novel on the Isle of Portland

Isle of Portland, DorsetI spent two days in June in glorious sunshine exploring part of the Jurassic coast of Dorset,  from the seaside resort of Weymouth to the Isle of Portland and particularly the latter for the purposes of research for the fourth in my crime series featuring my undercover investigator, former Royal Marine Commando, Art Marvik, who works for the UK's National Intelligence Marine Squad (NIMS).

Pauline Rowson Boarding the ferry across the river at Weymouth Harbour After arriving at Weymouth by train it was a short walk to the sandy bay and to the harbour where the small ferry - a row boat actually - took myself and my husband, Bob, across the harbour to the Nothe Peninsula, which juts eastwards from the town of Weymouth into the sea to the north of ex-military Portland Harbour.

Pauline Rowson on research on the Isle of Portland, DorsetFrom there we walked to where the Isle of Portland joins the mainland of Weymouth by road and where the famous Chesil Beach is located, a pebble beach 18 miles long, 660 ft wide and 50 ft high. For much of its length it is separated from the mainland by an area of saline water called the Fleet Lagoon and is part of the Jurassic Coast and the location for a 2007 novel, On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. But he's not the only author who features this beach,  I'll be joining him soon.

Just one part of Chesil Beach looking back towards WeymouthIt is an amazing place with fresh sea winds rolling straight off the Atlantic and nothing in between.  It is hard going walking on the stones, so  after a while we dived off and made for Portland Marina where Marvik puts into on his powerful motor cruiser.

Chesil Cove, West Weares, Portland, DorsetWe crossed the narrow spit to the other side of the island and Chesil Cove, the scene of many shipwrecks, which was named by Thomas Hardy as "Dead Man's Bay".

Looking down at Fortunes Well, Chesil Beach across to WeymouthThe next morning we set off from Fortuneswell to the cliff tops and around the Westcliff coastal path, through the remains of the quarries. Portland is famous for its Portland Stone which was used by Sir Christopher Wren for the building of St Paul's Cathedral, London as well as in Buckingham Palace and elsewhere in the UK and abroad, for example Portland stone is used in the United Nations headquarters building in New York City.

Portland Bill LighthouseEventually we came to the lighthouse on the very end of the island, called Portland Bill before continuing on our journey around the coast, more quarries, move caves and coves, ideal spots to put a body, always given that the killer could lure the victim there to begin with!

Looking down into Church Ope Cove, Isle of PortlandChurch Ope Cove, looks a likely spot. It's a long way down and up but there's always the chance a small boat could put in there!

Rugged Portland Coastline and quarriesThe Isle of Portland has a stunning coastal scenery and great atmosphere with its narrow, twisting roads, wild quarry landscapes, caves, coves and a marina. And although I was on research for Art Marvik crime novel number 4, I came away with lots of inspiration and ideas for more crime novels. It's a perfect location for my sea based crime novels.

Lost Voyage, an Art Marvik marine thrillerLost Voyage, the third Art Marvik marine thriller is published by Severn House in the UK on 10 July 2017 and in the USA on 1 November 2017. Art Marvik also appears in Silent Running and Dangerous Cargo.

All my crime novels are available on line or from all good bookshops. Also available for loan in UK, Commonwealth and USA libraries.

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JULY 27TH, 2017 @ 8:01:59 BST

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