Midlands-based crime novels see ex-journalist strike publishing deal

Photo: Tony Bassett

A former Midlands journalist who wrote a series of novels starring a Leicester detective has landed a deal with a crime publisher.

Tony Bassett’s first novel in the series, Murder On Oxford Lane, was published in January, and the second, The Crossbow Stalker, is due out in February.

Tony, who worked as a reporter for Worcester News (formerly The Evening News), was given a five-year contract last August with London publisher The Book Folks.

Tony said: “I am particularly pleased that this novel has finally appeared in print.

“This is the first book I’ve written and so far it has received rave reviews.

“I sat down and wrote the first draft in the spring of 2016. A year later I decided the main characters weren’t quite right and rewrote it.”

The Crossbow Stalker and Murder on Oxford Lane by Tony Bassett

Tony returned to the novel two years later after immersing himself in other book projects, but decided to rewrite the manuscript a third time until he was finally satisfied with it.

Over the years, the opening chapter has appeared in at least four different forms.

Murder On Oxford Lane is set in and around Birmingham and concerns a property magnate who disappears from a country village.

One of the two main characters, Dete

Active Sergeant Sunita Roy comes from a Leicester family.

The writer, who lives in Bexley, Kent, left the Worcester Evening Paper in the 1970s and made a career in Fleet Street, working for the Sunday People, both in its newsroom and service of surveys.

But he never forgot his time in the Midlands, and when he decided to end his career as a journalist in 2015, he drew on his memories to create a series of mystery novels based around Birmingham and neighboring counties.

Tony said: “I’ve never forgotten the happy times I’ve had and the interesting people I’ve met while reporting on crime, housing issues and industrial disputes in the Midlands.

“So many novels are set in London and the South East. I thought urban and rural life around the Midlands would prove a rich vein for a novelist of mine.”

Murder On Oxford Lane is available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback.

Tony set his first two novels in Kent.

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Smile Of The Stowaway (2018) followed a couple who sheltered an asylum seeker found under their motorhome and then fought to clear him of a murder charge.

His second book, The Lazarus Charter (2020), saw the same Kent couple meet with Russian agents.

The book has been endorsed by Marina Litvinenko, whose husband Alexander was poisoned in 2006, and the parents of Dawn Sturgess, the 44-year-old British mother of three who died in Salisbury.

Tony dedicated the Lazarus Charter to Alexander and Dawn.

Tony was featured in the Leicester Mercury last June.

On his first visit to the city to make a copyright video, he was fined £100 for parking in a pub car park.

Eventually, he won an appeal against the penalty notice.

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