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New novel explores Fleet Street journalist’s move to Welsh weekly

Nigel JarrettA former Fleet Street crime chief winding up on a Welsh weekly newspaper provides the setting for a former regional daily journalist’s debut novel.

Nigel Jarrett, left, who worked at the South Wales Argus, has called on 30 years of industry experience in writing Slowly Burning.

The book follows fictional ex-Fleet Street crime bureau chief Bunny Patmore as he investigates the implications of a letter, left to him in a gangster’s will, which involves a notorious gangland double murder.

However Nigel, who held roles including reporter, sub-editor, business editor and music critic at the Newport-based Argus, denies Bunny is based on anyone specific from his past.

He told his former newspaper: “I’ve worked with a few journalists who’d arrived in the provinces with Fleet Street credentials, but Bunny Patmore isn’t based on any one of them in particular. What they did was suggest to you the kind of milieu in which they’d operated.

“Combine that with their colourful outlook and kosher methods of working, methods you might not have thought of yourself, and it’s enough to let the imagination slip the leash.”

As the story progresses, Bunny heads back to Wales with a red hot exclusive, while offering snatches of his own history as the son of a Fleet Street printer.

Nigel added: “I hope people will buy the book but not just for my sake. This is an all-Gwent venture, a book conceived, written, edited and published in the locality and in the traditional way.

“Publishing, not least the newspaper industry, is changing rapidly. It’s an exciting, if controversial, development. Certainly the independent book publisher’s hour has arrived, which is why I’m pleased that Gareth John offered to take up the novel.”

Slowly Burning is priced at £8.95 and published by GG Books.