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Journalist’s whodunnit told through newspaper stories

A former weekly newspaper editor has given a new twist to the whodunnit novel by revealing details of the ‘crime’ through newspaper stories.

John Wheatcroft,  who edited the Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News in the 1980s, has had his crime novel Here in the Cull Valley published an an e-book.

It tells the story of a car accident in which three people die and the key to what happens lies in the diary of one of the victims, journalist Teddy Beresford, who has written his life story in the style of a national newspaper.

A fictional regional daily, The Cull Valley Evening Gazette, tells the tale of the accident, with its reoprts being followed by  the “stories they cannot print” – with journalists giving first-person narratives of the real story.

The publication was invented by John but the area it features is loosely based on Calderdale in West Yorkshire where the Halifax Courier is based.

John said: “Fellow scribes will certainly find it interesting and, despite the temptation to pick a few holes, realistic.

“In fiction, local newspapers are sometimes portrayed in a dismissive or patronising way. This novel provides a colourful, sympathetic picture of a regional publication and its journalists, virtually all of whom do their jobs well or at least competently. There are a couple of repellent characters, but they are not fools.

“But above all this is a book for people who like good fiction. They will, I am sure, enjoy the sophistication of the format and the clear voices with which all the main characters speak to them.”

The author previously worked at the Yorkshire Evening Post and his former colleague Richard McDougall, who now works for Creative Squeeze, created the cover image for the book.

John, who has been a journalist for more than 30 years, was made redundant from York’s The Press in 2009 and is now working as a freelance.

The book can be purchased from Amazon.