Porthcawl author’s first murder mystery

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

By GEM Community Correspondent

in Local People

Porthcawl author Anthony Hontoir has recently published his ninth book, a whodunit crime novel entitled The Tidal Road Mystery, which introduces a new amateur sleuth in the shape of Erwin Graham.

Graham is a one-time Fleet Street crime reporter who succumbed to a nervous breakdown and became a tramp before seeking salvation in Totnes, Devon, where the well-known counter-culture of a strong artistic community brought out his talent for painting.

Quite by chance, he becomes involved in a murder investigation in the fictitious Devon village of Watersford (based on Aveton Gifford) where he is now living in a dilapidated bungalow with Belle, his gipsy partner.

The book marks a dramatic change of direction for Anthony Hontoir, who is better known in his home town of Porthcawl as the producer of a series of local history films, which he has been making for the past two decades.

He said:?“As a matter of fact, I started out in writing, beginning with short stories when I was eight years old, and I wrote my first book when I was 10.

“It was an adventure story meant for children of my own age, and I sent it to the publishers, William Collins, but it was returned, perhaps not surprisingly.

“However, I was determined not to be put off, and wrote several more in the years that followed, but they kept coming back with very polite but encouraging rejection letters”.

“By my late teens, it culminated in the writing of Free and Easy, a novel set in a 1970s comprehensive school, which proved equally unsuccessful at the time, so my thoughts turned to becoming either a cameraman or a journalist.

“The latter won the day, and for the next nine years I was a freelance journalist specialising in DIY woodwork, which led to the writing of seven woodwork books.

“After this episode in my career, I set up my own film company, ‘Downwood Film Productions’, and ever since the late 1980s, I have been making films”.

He revisited Free and Easy, reworked it and it was published in 2008. This led Mr Hontoir to consider a return to writing rather than operating a movie camera.

He continued:?“At the moment I am doing both, and film-making still forms a big part of my life, but two years ago my family and I had a week’s holiday in Devon, staying in a small cottage in Aveton Gifford, and I became fascinated with its tidal road.

“The plot formed in my mind, and I wrote most of it on my return home, although I got a bit stuck on the ending and only completed it in May of this year. The ebook version was published on Amazon at the end of June, and the paperback came out in September.”

The Tidal Road Mystery is intended to be the first in a series of whodunits in which Erwin Graham is the detective, and Anthony has already worked out plots for two further books and has started writing them.

The official book launch will take place at SUSSED in James Street, Porthcawl, on Friday, October 21, at 8pm, and a ‘meet the author’ event is scheduled at Porthcawl Library for Wednesday, November 23, at 2pm.

Paperback copies of the book are already on sale at £6.99 each at the SUSSED shop, as well as at Nottage Stores in Nottage village and Cornelly Hardware, Hall Drive, North Cornelly. Copies can be obtained directly from Anthony Hontoir who may be contacted on 01656 771775 or 07510 934299. For readers who prefer the electronic version, the ebook is available on Amazon at £1.99.

Report and photograph by Keith E Morgan.

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