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Crime-writing nomination for former Notts newsman

Former Nottinghamshire journalist Stephen Booth has been shortlisted for a national crime-writing prize.

Fictional character Detective Constable Ben Cooper, who features in Stephen’s series of novels set in the Derbyshire Peak District, has been nominated in the 2003 Sherlock Awards for the best detective created by a British author.

The former deputy editor, (50), will be hoping his character can follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse.

But he is facing touch competition from three other finalists, including Ruth Rendell’s character, Chief Inspector Wexford.

The winner will be announced on July 12 at the National Film Theatre in London.

Since leaving the Worksop Guardian, where he was deputy editor, two years ago, Stephen’s career as an author has gone from strength to strength.

He has won the prize for Best British Crime Novel at the American Barry Awards for the past two years, for his debut novel Black Dog and second book Dancing with the Virgins, and his books have attracted a host of other nominations.

His third book, Blood on the Tongue, was released last year and his fourth book, Blind to the Bones, hit the shelves this month.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Stephen previously fitted his ‘hobby’ into evenings and weekends.

He began his career as a reporter on the Wilmslow Advertiser in Lancashire and later worked for the Barnsley Chronicle Group.

He joined the Worksop Guardian as a chief reporter in 1986 and became deputy editor in 1993.

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E-mail pastill@nep.co.uk