Crime doesn’t pay, but being a victim of crime can. Peter James was a struggling author in search of a subject when he was burgled. A young detective, Mike Harris, called round to investigate, and inadvertently solved the case of what Peter James should do with his life. Since becoming one of the world’s best selling thriller writers, with a large pile in Sussex, another pad in London’s Notting Hill and a handsome stable of classic cars, James has done rather well on the proceeds of crime.
“We became friendly with Mike and I met his colleagues, who I found fascinating,” James recalls. “It struck me that no-one sees more in a 30-year-life than a policeman.”
If the sea provided artistic inspiration to Turner and Seago, it is the Sussex seaside that washes in such rich – and dark – materials for James. Our subject gives due credit to Graham Greene who was first to see the area’s sinister potential in Brighton Rock, with its raffish assortment of fixers, fencers, cock-fighters, prostitutes and thieves who had been moving down from London to developnew markets since the advent of the railways.
Using “Greeneland” as inspiration, James offers an updated Brighton crime-scape, especially in his series featuring fictional local policeman, Detective Superintendent George Grace. And rather than relying on his imagination, he goes out on the beat a day a week. Hell, he even has his own squad car emblazoned with his name, a present to the Brighton constabulary from his publishers.
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