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Born in Germany in 1957 into a strange and anglophile family, Peter Helton soon moved into the attic to get some peace. At school he tried to get by on talent alone and failed, which introduced him to the world of work: bookshops, night reception at an Athens hotel, a cement brick factory in Corfu and other character-building places of employment. He met his now ex-wife and good friend Clare in Greece. After living for a year in a tiny village in Corfu they moved to London where Peter worked as a translator for film and TV. He found the switch from village to metropolis hard to make and soon moved to the West Country, where he began to complete his education: A levels at Bath Tech, a humanities degree at Bristol poly. Thus equipped for a life of unemployment he took up the brush and started over: a foundation course in art and design and a fine art degree at UWE, Bristol.

He had several shows, including a one man show, and was for years represented by Anthony Hepworth Fine Art. While spending a few months in a small town in the southwest of Turkey he ran out of reading material. An ex-pat handed him The Breaker by Minette Walters, with the words 'I don't know if you read this kind of stuff...?' He did, and got on a plane home and started writing his first crime novel, Headcase. He now lives in a tiny cottage on the outskirts of Bath where he writes in the company of his cat Asbo.