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On Rat Island with DI Andy Horton in DEAD PASSAGE

Dead Passage, DI Andy Horton crime novel by Pauline Rowsonn DEAD PASSAGE (14) in the DI Andy Horton series of crime novels (15) is set on Horton’s CID patch, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

It is locations that often inspire me and with this crime novel while three locations inspired me the idea for DEAD PASSAGE also occurred to me while I was travelling on the Wightlink ferry, the St Clare, from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight one day.

A mysterious telephone call sends Horton on a complex and twisted investigation into the death of a local politician twelve years ago and uncovers a trail of lies, secrets and revenge with roots deep in the past.

Here is just one of the locations that is used in DEAD PASSAGE and an extract from the novel.

Rat Island, Portsmouth HarbourThe first location which inspired me for DEAD PASSAGE is a small uninhabited island in Portsmouth Harbour between the town of Gosport and the city of Portsmouth. It is owned by the Ministry of Defence. Its official name is Burrow Island but locals know it as Rat Island.

Read an extract from DEAD PASSAGE which explains something about Rat Island.

Horton’s gaze swivelled over the boats moored up in Oyster Quays marina and alighted on a large luxury motor yacht on the outer pontoon. It wasn’t quite in the mega-yacht category but it was certainly veering towards that. He wondered who owned it – someone very wealthy was obviously the answer. His eyes travelled further up into the harbour to a small clump of trees on a slightly raised knoll on a tiny uninhabited island just off the shores of Gosport, opposite the Portsmouth International Port. Burrow Island, or Rat Island as the locals called it, was owned by the Ministry of Defence and nine days ago five skeletons had been discovered buried there. Thankfully the onsite forensic archaeologist, Dr Lauder, had deemed them all to be from the nineteenth century. Horton hadn’t briefed Bliss about it because it wasn’t an active investigation.

Rat Island - remainsOr is it? I’ll leave you to find out when you read DEAD PASSAGE, but here is a clue in an exchange between the forensic archaeologist, Dr Lauder and Detective Superintendent Uckfield, head of the major crime team at a briefing at which Horton is present.

Dr Lauder is telling the team what he has discovered about those five skeletal remains.

As we know the harbour contained a prison hulk, HMS York, between 1819 and 1854 after she had returned from serving time in the West Indies and the Mediterranean, it is possible they were either convicts or French prisoners captured during the Napoleonic War. The York would have had about five hundred men on board – many were transported to Australia. Some would have died of typhoid and cholera before they could be transported. Others served their time out on the York. During the day they were put to hard labour working on the fortifications around Gosport, on Burrow Island and in Portsmouth. At night they would have been chained to their bunks to prevent them escaping ashore.’
‘If I’d wanted a history lesson I’d have gone to the museum,’ Uckfield growled. ‘This recent corpse, how––’
‘Burrow Island or Rat Island, as it is more commonly known, was used as a burial ground for these convicts, guilty or not, and for French prisoners. Further tests will be conducted on the remains to ascertain from where they originated which might give us more information. Working with historians we can try to piece together their lives, but it’s not their history as you so rightly and eloquently pointed out that concerns you, Detective Superintendent,’ Lauder added as Uckfield’s scowl deepened and his mouth opened to protest, ‘but our fifth skeleton. This one.’

So how were the five skeletal remains found? Who discovered them? What was he/she doing trespassing on Rat Island? And what secret does the fifth skeleton hold? DEAD PASSAGE reveals all.

DEAD PASSAGE is available in paperback, as an ebook on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo.  It can also be loaned from UK, USA and Commonwealth libraries.

Pauline Rowson's mystery thrillers

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MARCH 22ND, 2021 @ 11:34:32 GMT

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