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Why the Solent is the ideal setting for a crime novel and home to DI Andy Horton

Sailing out of Portsmouth HarbourA question I am often asked is why I set my DI Andy Horton police procedural detective novels in the Solent area and one of the reasons, among many, was reinforced recently as I was crossing it from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth on the Wightlink ferry.

The busy Solent - Portsmouth to Isle of Wight, DI Andy Horton's patchThe Solent was awash with activity. On it was the Hovercraft, the Wightlink Fast Cat, yachts and pleasure craft of all sizes.

Coming out of Portsmouth Harbour was the Brittany Continental ferry, being accompanied by the orange and black pilot boat. A laden container ship was making its way across the Solent towards Southampton docks.

Portsmouth Harbour Superyacht in Di Andy Horton - A Killing Coast Another Wightlink ferry passed us on the way across to the Island and a small red and white fishing boat came alongside as we entered the harbour, where the green and white Gosport ferry was crossing and the police launch was beside the UK Border Agency Patrol vessel not far from a Royal Navy ship in the Naval Base. And amongst all this you could see the masts of HMS Warrior and HMS Victory.

Portsmouth Camber featured in the DI Andy Horton crime novelsThe waterfront city of Portsmouth, the Solent, the harbours of Langstone and Chichester and the Isle of Wight has so much to offer a writer. It is such a vibrant area full of contrasts and therefore a rich source of material for my  crime novels. Its inner city poor rub shoulders with the wealthy; its large University population and multi-cultural society provide an eclectic mix of personalities and backgrounds.

Old Portsmouth towards Gunwharf Quays renamed Oyster Quays in DI Andy Horton crime novelsThere is the hugely popular shopping and entertainment complex of Gunwharf Quays (renamed Oyster Quays in my DI Andy Horton crime novels); the historic walls of Old Portsmouth and the seafront where Henry VIII watched the Mary Rose sink; Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with its naval museum and attractions including HMS Victory and the Mary Rose; not to mention that Portsmouth is the birthplace of Charles Dickens, whose house is preserved as a museum, and the city was once home to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H. G Wells.

There is a wealth of history, the Royal Navy, marinas, boatyards, the commercial ferry port, a fishing industry, tug boats, containers, continental ferries and so much more.

Isle of Wight Coastline featured in the DI Andy Horton crime novels by Pauline RowsonAdd to this Portsmouth Harbour itself, the surrounding harbours of Langstone and Chichester and across the Solent the magical Isle of Wight with its bays, beaches, countryside and stunning coastline, and an ever changing sea: calm, choppy, turbulent, silver, blue, dark green, grey, dangerous, beguiling, bewitching, misleading and mysterious what more could a crime writer wish for in terms of inspiration?

The first in the Art Marvik crime series, Silent Running  is also set against the backdrop of the sea. Marvik travels in a motor cruiser along the coastline of England.

Silent Running is set in the coastal towns of  Southampton and Weymouth, Chichester and its marina in West Sussex, the seaside towns of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and the New Forest coastline.

See the photographs of where Silent Running is set and read extracts.

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JUNE 5TH, 2015 @ 6:36:20 BST

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