British Murders podcast – how to research a true-crime book
Being interviewed on the British Murders podcast by Stuart Blues, I faced questions I rarely get asked.
Stuart was interested in my background as a journalist and writer. He wanted to know how an author puts a non-fiction book together with research and interviews.
Interviewing people is one of the fascinating aspects of writing books. I’ve been lucky to speak to former detectives, psychologists and profilers.
Stuart wanted to know if interviews always went well. No, they don’t. Some can offer little of interest.
Other times they are a revelation. You might be handed handed secret documents to read. On one occasion I managed to talk geo-profiler Kim Rossmo into doing an analysis of the 1960s’ Hammersmith murders.
This provided an intriguing insight in The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper. It revealed the killer probably lived a couple of streets from where two of the victims lived.
Murder by the Sea
For Murder by the Sea, published last July, I didn’t do any interviews. They were done by my co-author, David Howard, for the hit series he directs for CBS Reality of the same name.
However, I did read all the transcripts in full for the 10 extraordinary murder investigations featured in the book. This allowed me to include extended accounts from victims’ relatives, detectives and forensic experts.
For the chapter on the unusual case of mother-and-son murderers Penelope John and Barry Rogers, I could devote plenty of space to the account of Rogers’ partner, Rhianne Morris. She was eloquent and moving on what it was like to escape a strange and abusive relationship.
The Real Ted Hastings
My next book is The Real Ted Hastings. This delves into the real officers and corruption scandals that have inspired hit BBC series Line of Duty.
I interviewed some fascinating former detectives, most in their 80s. They had compelling stories to tell about fighting corruption.
It’s published on 11 May 2023.
I would like to thank the ex-detectives who spent their time, and in some cases offered their hospitality, to relate their fascinating experiences.