A former CID detective with Avon and Somerset Constabulary launched his fourth novel with a signing on Saturday, March 14, at Walter Henry’s Bookshop in Bideford.

Crime author James Mortain signing his new book Dead Ringer at Walter Henry's Bookshop in Bideford. Picture: Ray GoldsmithCrime author James Mortain signing his new book Dead Ringer at Walter Henry's Bookshop in Bideford. Picture: Ray Goldsmith

Thriller writer James D Mortain was launching Dead Ringer, the first in his new crime series set in Bristol and featuring old-school maverick cop, DI Robbie Chilcott, on the hunt for a cold-blooded and methodical serial killer.

James was welcomed to the shop by manager Fiona Chope and staff, as well as Fleur Phillips, who won his ‘Win your name in my next novel’. He used Fleur’s name for one of the major characters.

Julie Foster is another local winner who was literally sitting on her prize at his Appledore Book Festival event last September, after James planted a random seat in the audience with the prize stuck underneath the chair.

Julie’s named character has a significant role in the book, not least, as the main character’s boss.

Author James Mortain with competition winner Fleur Phillips at Walter Henry's Bookshop in Bideford. Picture: Ray GoldsmithAuthor James Mortain with competition winner Fleur Phillips at Walter Henry's Bookshop in Bideford. Picture: Ray Goldsmith

James said: “Can I say a huge thank you to everyone who braved the social fears of these uncertain and scary times to visit Walter Henry’s Bookshop for the book launch.

“It was fantastic to see so many die-hard supporters of my books and a few new faces too. I would also like to thank Fiona and all the helpful staff at the bookshop.”

Having mostly worked as a police officer in Bath, but also on a murder investigation in Bristol, James draws upon extensive first-hand experience and knowledge to lure readers into his stories and make them feel that they are living the action.