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Ex-editor’s book features in literature exam

A retired editor’s book about a 1943 murder has featured in a GCSE literature exam.

John Marquis, who spent ten years as managing editor of The Tribune in Nassau, published Blood and Fire to critical acclaim in 2005.

The book, which deals with the famous 1943 murder of Sir Harry Oakes, has now been used by students in the Bahamas as the basis of an essay on social conditions in the islands during the Second World War.

Last year, the book was cited in the Wall Street Journal as one of the best five non-fiction books about unsolved crimes.

John, who also edited the Falmouth Packet group in Cornwall for ten years until 1995, told HTFP: “Having Blood and Fire featured in the GCSE exams was a particular honour for me. I went to a secondary modern school and failed maths O’level twice, so It’s a bit of a coup to have a book lauded by the teaching profession.

“It was made sweeter by the fact that other authors featured were Chester Thompson, who wrote the island classic The Fledgling, and Sir William Golding of Lord of the Flies fame.”

John, who has published six other books, began his career on the Northampton Chronicle and Echo in 1961. He also spent two years at the Nottingham Evening Post before becoming a political reporter on the Bahamas’ principal dailies, The Nassau Guardian and The Tribune.

Now 70, he was voted Provincial Journalist of the Year in the IPC National Press Awards in 1974 after exposing child neglect scandals at two Home Counties hospitals.

Blood and Fire has continued to sell steadily on Amazon and in Caribbean bookshops.

Writing in the WSJ, Former Harvard professor Edward Jay Epstein described it as ‘superb’ and said it would make a great James Bond style movie.