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The setting for Ryga Mystery 2 DEATH IN THE HARBOUR

Death in the Harbour by Pauline RowsonDEATH IN THE HARBOUR, the second in the Inspector Ryga 1950s set mystery series, is set in the port of Newhaven on the East Sussex coast.

Newhaven lies at the mouth of the River Ouse between Brighton to the west (nine miles) and the stunning Severn Sister Cliffs to the East (ten miles). It is a busy port with regular cross channel ferry sailings to Dieppe (France); a fishing fleet and leisure craft but since the time when my crime novel is set in December 1950 its cargo and steamer trade has declined. The town has also changed considerably, not to mention the pace and way of life.

I first visited Newhaven while researching for my mystery thriller, LOST VOYAGE, featuring undercover investigator Art Marvik. I liked the town’s earthy working class feel, its wild seascape facing onto the English Channel, its river harbour and the nearby, more genteel seaside town, of Seaford, facing Seaford Bay, which is featured in DEATH IN THE HARBOUR.

Seaford Bay in DEATH IN THE HARBOUR mystery In the novel Inspector Ryga, from Scotland Yard, catches the train at Newhaven Harbour Station to Seaford to further his enquiries in to the baffling case of why an ordinary police constable has been murdered and his wife has gone missing.

Newhaven Harbour Cross Channel Steamers Brighton and Worthing - Our NewhavenAfter some historical search, and the discovery of the excellent website, Our Newhaven, I knew Newhaven would make a good setting for Inspector Ryga 2.

Newhaven has a Fort overlooking the sea, built by Lord Palmerston in 1862-1872 to repel invasion from the French. Newhaven also has a distinctive breakwater. But instead of focusing on these in the plotline two other aspects of the town appealed to me - its Swing Bridge, which joined east and west Newhaven, and Sleepers Hole, or Mud Hole, as the locals called it. What a perfect place to put a body! Or is it? I’ll leave you to read the novel to find out.

Swing Bridge -John Burgess- Our NewhavenSleepers Hole is now a marina and the swing bridge was replaced and a ring road constructed joining east and west Newhaven. In 1950, however, the old swing bridge was very much in existence.  It was operated by men turning the giant capstan to open and close the bridge – opening it when a ship needed to pass in and out of North Quay and closing it to allow traffic and a railway line to traverse it. Before opening it they had to disconnect the gas main which ran across the bridge, connecting east Newhaven to west Newhaven. Newhaven docks with its busy railway sidings was thriving. Hard to believe today!

I was thrilled to have the assistance of Andrew Gilbert, webmaster of Our Newhaven, who also put me in touch with Martin McKay of the British Transport Police History Group and Kevin Gordon, former British Transport Police Officer at Newhaven from whom I gleaned some valuable historical and atmospheric background information. I have tried to recreate as far as I can the Newhaven of 1950, but of course sharp-eyed Newhaven residents may note that some of the places and street names have been changed. I hope they will forgive me for using poetic licence.

It’s a cold foggy December day in 1950 and Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Ryga is sent to the coastal town of Newhaven to unravel the mystery of why an ordinary police constable was murdered and his wife has gone missing.

DEATH IN THE HARBOUR is available in paperback, as an ebook, on Amazon Kindle and as an audio book

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NOVEMBER 11TH, 2020 @ 6:44:35 GMT

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