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Best-selling author shadows crime reporter to research novel

A best-selling author shadowed a regional daily crime reporter for a day to research his new novel.

Peter James, author of 28 crime novels, followed Rachel Millard of Brighton daily The Argus in preparation for the 13th book in his Roy Grace series, Love You Dead.

The pair took in a trial at crown court before knocking on doors in Brighton in search of a scoop.

Rachel also acted as inspiration for one of Mr James’s characters, reporter Siobhan Sheldrake.

Rachel with Peter James in The Argus newsroom

Rachel with Peter James in The Argus newsroom

Mr James said: “I wanted to come to The Argus because the interaction between Roy Grace and his team and the newspaper is an essential part of every major crime enquiry in every Roy Grace novel.

“I thought it would be good to have a refresher visit after quite a long period of time.

“Also because Glenn Branson (Grace’s sidekick) whose estranged wife died in an earlier novel, is now in love with a reporter called Siobhan Sheldrake and I have been looking for the right character to base her on so I could describe her accurately in future books.”

Mr James, who regularly accompanies police for his research, said he was amazed at the various stories reporters have to deal with in the course of a single day.

He added: “It is really interesting to see how important it is for reporters still to get out and about and go door-stopping.

“In that sense, instincts, tenacity and shoe-leather have not been replaced by technology as the true heart of accurate reporting.

“It is a real joy to see this newspaper so well run, with so many really good reporters.

“It has always been my belief that every town and every city needs a strong and respected local newspaper, to not only report accurately on all the events happening and affecting the city, but also to hold to account all public services.”