Graham Hurley |

From the Portsmouth underworld to a crime at Exmouth RC

Novelist Graham Hurley relates how a rowing outing inspired a murder most foul

Coastal rowing can open doors you’d never believe. It’s 2005 and Lin and I, newly arrived in Exmouth, were looking for stuff to do. We’d both lived by – and in – the sea for most of our lives and when our daughter-in-law suggested offshore rowing, it seemed a natural fit. Exmouth is blessed with some of the finest water in the kingdom, so we joined Kate at Exmouth RC.

GRAHAM AND WIFE LIN SEATED WITH FELLOW ‘VULCANEERS’ DAVE, LES AND PETE

I write novels for a living. My last series of crime fiction had explored exotic corners of the Portsmouth underworld, and my parting gift to my publisher had been a pitch for a spin-off quartet of books featuring one of the younger characters from the Pompey CID office, D/S Jimmy Suttle, who has joined the Devon and Cornwall force, and settled in – yep – Exmouth.  Orion are in the business of commissioning hard-boiled, cutting-edge crime fiction – and were under-impressed by the page-turning potential of East Devon. What had worked so well in the badlands of Pompey, they murmured, was unlikely to survive the journey west.

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