When the body of a reclusive artist is found on a stretch of waste land in the small English town of Rutherford Detective Inspector Steve Winwood has only a name and the local knowledge of an antiquarian bookseller to help him. A connection is established between the artist and a taxi driver but the latter is found lifeless having been bound and gagged and abandoned in his own luxury limo. Winwood and DS Tibble get some unexpected help from Tony Meehan the local reporter who is looking into the proposed future of the waste land between the bypass and the new housing estate. As Winwood and Meehan’s enquiries continue to coincide it seems that corruption is rife at the highest levels of the local Council; and a property development company is found to be waging a dirty tricks campaign. The town’s heritage is under threat. Both the detective and the journalist are advised to seek help from the Underground; but who are they and where can they be found?
John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. The Education Act of 1944 saw great changes in the way the nation was taught; the main one being that all children stayed at school until the age of 15 (later increased to 16). For the first time working class children were able to reach higher levels of academic study and the opportunity to gain further educational qualifications at University.
This explosion in education brought forth a new aspirational middle class; others remained true to their working class roots. The author belongs somewhere between the two. Many of the author’s main characters have their genesis in this educational revolution. Their dialogue though idiosyncratic can normally be understood but like all working class speech it is liberally sprinkled with strange boyhood phrases and a passing nod to cockney rhyming slang.
John Barber’s novels are set in fictional English towns where sexual intrigue and political in-fighting is rife beneath a pleasant, small town veneer of respectability.
They fall within the cozy, traditional British detective sections of mystery fiction.
He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder which investigated a famous murder mystery of 1907 and names the killer. This is still available in softback and as an ebook, although not available from Smashwords
John Barber had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He is now retired and lives with his wife and two cats on an island in the middle of Hertford and spends his time between local community projects and writing further novels.read more