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Cambridge author launches new novel on Thursday at Heffers

Cambridge author Peter Morfoot. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge author Peter Morfoot. Picture: Keith Heppell

Set in the streets of Nice on the French Riviera during carnival season, Box of Bones is the third novel in Peter Morfoot’s captivating Captain Paul Darac series

Cambridge author Peter Morfoot. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge author Peter Morfoot. Picture: Keith Heppell

Amid the colour and pageantry, a man suffers a fatal fall – the first in a series of suspicious deaths. Captain Darac of the Brigade Criminelle is convinced the answer lies in the mystery surrounding a daring bank heist, supposedly resolved years ago.

As well as writing crime novels, West Yorkshire-born Peter, a Cambridge resident for 20 years, has penned a number of plays and sketch shows for BBC radio and TV, and is the author of the acclaimed satirical novel, Burksey.

Box of Bones was published by Titan Books on April 3 and will be launched at Heffers tomorrow (Thursday, April 5) at 6.30pm.

Peter said: “Box of Bones is a story of blind ambition, guilty secrets and murder, in which a range of parent-offspring relationships play a crucial role.”

Cambridge author Peter Morfoot. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge author Peter Morfoot. Picture: Keith Heppell

Each of the three books in the series tie in with each other in some way as Peter explains: “The Darac Mystery series is also a soap, in a sense.

“Obviously the plots of the various crimes don’t follow on, but the ongoing relationships between the quite large cast of characters in the series do follow on – and various things come to a head in this third book.”

He added: “They do work by themselves but there is a momentum that builds, and these are usually in the subplots of the stories because each of the books has a very strong crime case element to it.”

Having started off writing comedy, what made Peter turn to crime fiction? “It was a tremoundous privilege – and a lot of fun – to put words in the mouths of actors as talented as Peter Davison, Mackenzie Crook, June Whitfield and Michael Williams,” he said.

“And for a scriptwriter, nothing much tops the moment when a really good cast gets hold of one of your scripts and does the first read-through – and they laugh (it helps obviously if the script is meant to be funny). That is a tremendous thing.

“I’d always loved reading crime fiction, but I didn’t know whether I would be able to write any long-form prose pieces, as I’d only ever written scripted material for broadcast.

“So I decided to take it in easy stages and stay in my comfort zone. The first thing I wrote in this form was a comic novel, which was a satire on popular culture featuring a gifted footballer and monstrous idiot called Burksey.

“That seemed to work well. It was only then that I began tentatively planning what became the Darac Mystery series of novels.”

On how the novels came to be set on the Côte d’Azur, Peter said: “I love reading crime series set abroad.

“That can be a way of getting to know places you haven’t discovered yet, or if you do know them it brings the pleasure of familiarity – and nowhere abroad is more familiar to my family and me than the south of France.

“We’ve been going there for nearly 40 years and it was pretty much love at first sight.”

To attend Peter’s book launch tomorrow, visit eventbrite.co.uk to register for free.


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