An Eastbourne man’s swapped council work for crime writing.
Former Wealden Environment Health Officer, Rob Crouch, has just had his first crime novel published. It looks at the murderous opportunities that arise in public health.
Rob has created his own sharp-eyed fictional protégé, Environmental Health Officer, Kent Fisher, who can see a murder where others see an accident.
“When I’ve been out on a job with Wealden, whether investigating a workplace accident, a food poisoning case or a pollution incident, at the back of my mind, something has been asking ‘what if someone wanted to commit murder…’, explains Rob, who lives in Eastbourne.
“It soon became obvious that there could be some great stories out there. When I first started 32 years ago, the attitude was ‘accidents will happen’. But in our game, they shouldn’t. Better understanding of safety issues and new legislation has reduced the risks for everyone. But what if someone set out to abuse the system? That’s where Kent Fisher comes in.”
Rob wrote his first novel, No Accident, in the evenings while working at Wealden District Council. He has now retired from the Council and aims to give full time writing a go. His second Kent Fisher novel, No Bodies, is already well underway.
The Kent Fisher crime mysteries are set in Downland District, a fiction local authority set in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside. Many of the locations may seem familiar to local readers.
Kent himself is something of a tortured soul. Disowned by his MP father, hopeless in love with his office assistant Gemma, and desperately trying to raise enough money to keep his animal sanctuary going, life is always eventful. And then there are those accidents which keep on happening…
“An Environmental Health inspector gets to go many places that others don’t. With some legislation they have more powers of entry than the Police. You can learn a lot from an unannounced inspection, and Kent is not averse to breaking the law himself, when justified,” adds Rob.
No Accident, Rob’s first novel, is published by the Penmore Press, and is available on Amazon books and other online retailers.
Rob is giving a number of local talks about crime writing. He is speaking at the Hawthorns, Eastbourne, on Friday 26 August and at Anderida Writers, West Rocks Hotel, Eastbourne on Tuesday 13 September. Further information about Rob’s books and the murders in Downland District can be found on Rob’s website.