Midsomer man’s new novel based in the Vale

Author Douglas Watkinson outside his writing shed at home in Dinton
Author Douglas Watkinson outside his writing shed at home in Dinton

One of the founding scriptwriters from Midsomer Murders has turned his hand to writing crime novels – and his hero lives in a Vale village.

Douglas Watkinson has had a long and extremely successful career as a television scriptwriter. As well as working on the internationally popular Midsomer series he has produced work for Emmerdale Farm, The Bill, New Tricks, Kavanagh QC and Heartbeat.

Now he is concentrating on Nathan Hawk, a widowed, middle aged ex-detective living in a quintessentially English village in the middle of the Vale with his four children.

Douglas, who lives a similar existence in Dinton, albeit with his very much alive wife Lesley, said: “I realised that generally as a scriptwriter I had done it all and it was getting repetitive. There is less original drama on television, lots of repeats. I like repeats, I’ve got three on this week, but I still want to write

“I thought I saw a gap for an English male detective. If you think about it there are very few, they are all Irish or women. Why do one billion people around the world watch Midsomer Murders? Because Barnaby is an English male detective of a certain age. The appeal of Midsome Murders is that it is set in England.”

And a very precise England at that, a pretty, rural, idyllic England. And so Douglas’s hero Nathan Hawk lives right here in the Home Counties and visits and mentions places familiar to us all.

“He’s a private investigator, although he wouldn’t call himself that. His children call him that. The stories are set around here, he lives down a lane very like the one where I live,” said Douglas.

The first novel Haggard Hawk was first published six years ago and has been re-released to coincide with the launch of the second Easy Prey on June 10. A third in the series is due out in September, and Douglas is now writing the fourth.