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FAQ:Why have you changed some of the location names in the DI Andy Horton Solent Murder Mystery novels when you set them in a real location?


The Portsmouth Murders, a DI Andy Horton mystery by Pauline Rowson

When I first created Andy Horton in THE PORTSMOUTH MURDERS (formerly entitled Tide of Death) I mulled over where to set my crime series before it occurred to me that my home patch was best, not purely for the sake of making research easier but because it is such a place of contrasts with its diverse characters, its contrasts between rich and poor, its coastal locations – boats, harbours, marinas – its commercial port, naval heritage and its easy access to the splendid Isle of Wight five miles across the Solent. There is always a good place to put a body!

The sea is my trade mark (or brand if you prefer) having been raised by the sea it never leaves you. And as the Portsmouth and Solent area is the mecca of sailing on the south coast of England I decided to make my detective a keen sailor, and, just to add a little more flavour, to have him living on his small yacht (since his estrangement from his wife) in Southsea Marina – a real location – on the eastern tip of Portsmouth. Andy is instinctive and emphatic with a deep need to belong having been deserted by his mother when he was ten, and yet always just on the outside. Oh and he rides a Harley Davidson and never wears a tie or suit unless he has to when attending court.

Portsmouth has a great history including a literary one and I was honoured and delighted when three years ago I was asked to give a talk to a visiting group of Americans who were doing a literary tour of Hampshire, walking in the footsteps of the great Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens and oh yes DI Andy Horton too! Amazing. I receive e mails from people who are coming to visit the city of Portsmouth and want to know where Oyster Quays is and why I haven’t mentioned Spinnaker Tower which brings me on to the above question:

why have I changed some of the location names?

Well not everyone is pleased to have a murder on their doorstep even though it is fictional one!And although there is a disclaimer in the front of each book that the characters are fictional and bear no resemblance to anyone living or dead, some editors have decided I should err on the side of caution and change the names. So it was with the first DI Andy Horton when Gunwharf Quays (the real name) was replaced by me with Oyster Quays.The reason being that in the novel I mention a health club, along with certain characters associated with it and the editor of that book on learning that there was real health club at Gunwharf Quays got twitchy about me using the real location name. Hence the change.


The Horsea Marina Murders a DI Andy Horton mystery by Pauline Rowson Perhaps I shouldn’t have bowed to persuasion but the point was borne on me when I was researching for book number three in the series THE HORSEA MARINA MURDERS (formerly entitled The Suffocating Sea) when I went to conduct research at Port Solent – the real location. The management there at that time were adamant I shouldn’t use their real name and insisted on it being changed. Hence it did.

Likewise when researching on the Isle of Wight I wanted to use Quarr Abbey in one of the DI Andy Horton novels. I thought I should consult the Benedictine Monks who live there, ask if they were happy about this and seek their permission to use it.There answer was ‘no’. Quarr Abbey therefore became Northwood Abbey in the books.

Some people, however, are delighted for their locations to be featured in my DI Andy Horton crime novels, including the wonderful folk at the Portsmouth International Port, the Condor Commodore Clipper ferry which sails from Portsmouth to the Channel Islands and France; the National Museum of the Royal Navy; Portsmouth Historic Dockyard; Cumberland Fort and the Solent Forts to mention some of the locations which feature in the fifteen DI Andy Horton Solent Murder Mystery series.

I hope that explains why some location names have had to be changed. My thanks to all those who have gladly given their time and assistance in helping me to research and create my crime novels. And to my lovely readers for reading my novels.




POSTED BY: PAULINE ROWSON
APRIL 24TH, 2022 @ 15:03:08 BST
 
 


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