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Bexley author has new book published

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 05 December 2018

Tony Bassett has just published his first book, Kent-based novel Smile Of The Stowaway. Picture: Tony Bassett

Tony Bassett has just published his first book, Kent-based novel Smile Of The Stowaway. Picture: Tony Bassett

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A man from Bexleyheath has just published his first book, Kent-based novel Smile Of The Stowaway.

Smile Of The Stowaway is being published by the Conrad Press in Canterbury on December 1. Picture: Tony BassettSmile Of The Stowaway is being published by the Conrad Press in Canterbury on December 1. Picture: Tony Bassett

The story concerns an English couple, Bob and Anne, who discover a stowaway beneath their motor home on returning from a holiday in France.

Instead of handing him to the authorities, they provide the stranger with shelter and find him a job on a farm.

Then their new friend is arrested by police and accused of murder. Could this man from 6,000 miles away be guilty of the horrific murder in an idyllic Kentish hamlet? Or is the real killer still at large?

Anne turns detective, battling against circumstantial evidence and police bungling in an effort to uncover the truth.

Author Tony Bassett said: “The inspiration for the book came after I wrote a story as a freelance journalist in September 2014 about a couple who found a stowaway beneath their motor home when they returned to Ashford.

“In the real life event, unlike the couple in my book, the pair handed the man over to police.”

Tony, who was a journalist for 43 years, said he has always wanted to write crime fiction.

He said: “I have wanted to write since the age of nine when I edited a school magazine.

“I worked for the Sidcup Times - the forerunner to Bexley Times - as a reporter in 1972 before moving to Worcester to work on an evening paper in 1973.

“It was only when I became semi-retired in 2015 that at last I found the time.

“Smile Of The Stowaway is my first book to be published, although it is the third of four books I have written. The other three are also crime novels.”

Tony wrote the book in four months, and said once he had the inspiration for the story, he developed the characters by thinking about different people he had come across.

He said: “I named my fictional married couple Bob and Anne. I think I must have based the pair on people I’ve known.

“Bob (a schoolmaster) must be based on some of my teachers in West Kent.

“Once the three main characters had been established, I found the story developed naturally. I’ve met so many different people and encountered so many different situations as a journalist - I’m sure that also helped me put myself in the characters’ mindsets.”

When asked what he liked most about writing the novel, Tony said the fact that setting the novel in Kent made it enjoyable to write: “The novel is set in Canterbury, a city I know fairly well.

“I enjoyed most depicting the beauty of my home county of Kent with its apple orchards, hop gardens and countryside.

“But I also enjoyed describing the central event – the murder of a man in a secluded cottage – and outlining the various clues that helped Anne identify the killer. I also tried to make the story thought-provoking.

“It shows how immigrants are exploited by traffickers and questions whether Britain is a less welcoming country than it once was.”

Tony said he especially enjoyed writing about the two main characters.

“We see how their relationship is tested by Bob’s enthusiasm to help the stowaway, Yusef,” Tony said.

“But I’m probably most pleased with the way the character DS Kirwan developed.

“He is originally from Ireland and comes up with some amusing sayings. I also enjoyed writing about the female solicitor, ‘Jangling Janice’ Carslake, who appears an unpopular figure among Kent police.”

Smile Of The Stowaway is being published by the Conrad Press in Canterbury on December 14.

Copies can be ordered from the firm’s website, www.theconradpress.com.

It will also be available on Amazon in December.

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