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Writer and Artist
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Books published

bullet arrow Lock 13
bullet arrow Orinstar
bullet arrow Soft Summer Blood
bullet arrow A Good Way To Go
bullet arrow Indelible
bullet arrow Worthless Remains
bullet arrow An Inch Of Time
bullet arrow Four Below
bullet arrow Falling More Slowly
bullet arrow Rainstone Fall
bullet arrow Slim Chance
bullet arrow Headcase


Lock 13 Chris Honeysett mystery by Peter HeltonLock 13 (2018)

Bath, England. When his life drawing model disappears without trace, painter-sleuth Chris Honeysett uncovers evidence of a dangerous conspiracy.



Orinstar by Peter HeltonOrinstar (2017)

In a world wrought with darkness and swarming with the evil forces of the dark lord, Únghôr, the realm of Angâron is the last bastion of free peoples, not yet under Únghôr's dominion. A dwarf by the name of Dáblik, escaping a losing battle on the continent of Táres, is sent by the wizard Vîndhar through a World Gate to Angâron in search of Ándra who, unbeknown to himself, holds the key to saving Angâron from destruction. As the world darkens around them and they are pressed hard by the agents of the enemy, they must learn to rely on each other's strengths and talents, make strange alliances and learn to tread dangerous paths.



Soft Summer Blood by Peter HeltonSoft Summer Blood (2016)

It all seemed so simple: a murder; and obvious suspect; a shaky alibi. Detective Inspector McLusky never had it so good. Until a second killing challenges all his earlier assumptions.



A Good Way To Go by Peter HeltonA Good Way To Go (2015)

Unconventional Detective Inspector Liam McLusky is plunged into a major murder investigation in the latest instalment of this gritty police procedural series.


What a delightfully twisty mystery this was! Peter Helton is one hell of a writer and I was in suspense the entire book, never figuring out who'd done it until the very last minute. In fact, I wasn't even certain how many crimes were going on in this book for a very long time. And I was never sure quite how much I liked the inspector. McLusky is a very grumpy youngish detective, who acts and seems like a much older, curmudgeonly man. For goodness sake, it felt like he was Oscar in the old Odd Couple sitcom. He had an atrocious eating, drinking and smoking habit and didn't take care of himself at all. He was just coming off a suspension at the beginning of the book and had obviously screwed up royally because everyone was watching him like he was a time bomb and his boss told him if he did ONE THING WRONG he was gone. Poof!

These are not the clean, cerebral mysteries of a Dorothy Sayers or Agatha Christie, where the detectives have tea and scones and twirl their mustaches or knit their tassies and brilliantly deduce things. You don't think your way through this book. You feel each and every bout of heartburn; you yearn for McLusky to find someone to love who will push him to actually BUY a bed-frame and get that damn mattress off the floor. And while you admire the fact that he's so intensely driven to solve the cases that he walks off in the middle of a conversation with the girlfriend that left him that he would kill to have back...you wish he could learn to compartmentalize. To learn to save some of it for a personal life. But it doesn't seem like he can. And that makes you sad. However, it is what makes him such a brilliant detective.

So when the first odd murder happens, it's unrelated to anything else. There are no clues. They start investigating when the second happens, but the connection is tenuous at best. But they continue. As McLusky sets himself up as the scapegoat for the killer's hate, he begins a cat and mouse game that could not only help him find the killer, it could add him to the killer's list.

While I feel I would have benefited from having read the previous books in the series, I loved this mystery. It made me feel like I was in the detective's disturbed, sad head–probing the mysteries and vagaries of the human mind. It's almost as if because he is so dysfunctional, it helps him understand others who are as well. Sadly never surprised at the depths to which people will sink.

I'm wondering if he's the chocolate thief as well.

It's About The Book (full review here)

Well-crafted ... This could be a long running series if the author can keep up this level of excellence


The McLusky series manages to be both hilarious and dead serious, adding yet another string to Helton's impressive bow.



Indelible by Peter HeltonIndelible (2014)

Chris Honeysett has accepted a role as tutor at the Bath Arts Academy. Exhibition preparations are disrupted by a series of peculiar events, until one of Honeysett's fellow exhibitors lies dead - and Honeysett finds himself the prime suspect in the ensuing murder investigation. It's clear that someone is trying to frame him. But who? And why?



Worthless Remains by Peter HeltonWorthless Remains (2013)

Chris Honeysett's latest assignment - babysitting TV archaeologist Guy Middleton during filming at an ageing rock star's mansion near Bath - seems straightforward enough. It turns out to be anything but. It becomes clear that someone intends Guy Middleton serious harm.


A humourous cozy with an entertaining plot and a quirky cast ... Good fun

Anglophiles should be satisfied with his close attention to the subtleties of British culture - and cookery in particular
Publishers Weekly

Helton's hero has a biting wit


An Inch of Time by Peter HeltonAn Inch Of Time (2012)

The latest instalment of the Chris Honeysett series.

Chris Honeysett, artist and private investigator, is suffering through a particularly dismal spring in his Bath studio, when an unexpected job offer suddenly presents him with not only a solution to his current lack of funds but also the chance to escape the British weather.


"Tiny cups of coffee strong enough to pave potholes and glasses of cheap, terrible Greek red wine introduce a desultory private eye to life on Corfu.

It’s a cold, damp, penniless April in Bath when uninspired artist Chris Honeysett lands a windfall. As sole proprietor of Aqua Investigations, which he runs with his live-in gal pal, Annis, and her alternate boyfriend, Tim, Chris is asked by a major supermarket chain to locate missing employee Kyla Biggs. Would he mind leaving the awful weather to look for her in Corfu, where she was last spotted? A disreputable motor coach carries him off with his cat, Derringer, as stowaway. Many miles and several countries later, he winds up on a ferry to Corfu, where he picks up a tail while he’s on the way to reacquaint himself with his artist friend Morva, perhaps cadge lodgings from her and, oh yes, find Kyla. Morva has a few problems herself: a snake in the kitchen, a tortoise with a candle strapped to its shell setting fire everywhere, a car cantilevered down the hillside headed straight for her. There’s no sight of Kyla, though. Instead, Chris finds a bird-watcher and an armed guard wearing a vampire-printed T-shirt at the entrance to the Thalassa Organic Olive Oil Co-operative.

His footsteps are dogged by a woman wearing gloves in the Mediterranean heat, someone else following her in turn. Annis and Tim arrive for a holiday, bringing more trouble and Ouzo hangovers. But eventually all is straightened out, though you may never invest in expensive olive oil again.

Who wouldn’t want to spend a fortnight in Corfu with the droll Honeysett and his chums? Helton, who divides his writing time between two series, the noir (Four Below, 2012, etc.) and the wry (Rainstone Fall, 2008, etc.), is a great traveling companion."

"Artist and private eye Chris Honeysett of Aqua Investigations jumps at the chance to leave cold, damp England for sunny Corfu to locate Kyla Biggs. Kyla disappeared in Corfu while on the job, and her employer, a national supermarket chain, is concerned. Once on the island, Honeysett looks up his friend Morva, who is running a school for artists in an abandoned village. Staying with Morva, he begins his search for Kyla, but residents in the surrounding villages are less than helpful and seem to be hiding something. In addition, it looks like someone is trying to sabotage Morva’s school, to the point of trying to kill her. Or are the attacks directed at Honeysett? Honeysett’s chatty, first-person narration; his self-deprecating humor; the Corfu frame; and details of art add to this cozy mystery, which will appeal to fans of Roderic Jeffries’ Inspector Alvarez series, set on the island of Majorca."


Four Below by Peter HeltonFour Below (2011)

Snow falls on the innocent and the guilty alike...

Heavy snow and it's still only November. DI McLusky has settled into his new job in Bristol but the severe weather shows an unfamiliar side to the city. After the conviction of a drug baron earlier in the year, a new kingpin is securing the hub of of drug crime in Bristol. But how secure does he feel?


"A dodgy batch of heroin leads to many murders.

That longtime drug users will die relatively young is to be expected. That their last hit will be laced with anthrax is not. And it gets worse. A sadist is littering Leigh Woods and bicycle paths with severed body parts and thoroughly mashed faces. Bristol CID is overwhelmed not only by the escalating body count but by arctic weather and a cantankerous heating system that leaves the precinct frigid. Assisted by DS Austin, DI Liam McLusky, still fairly new to the area (Falling More Slowly, 2011, etc.), is saddled with sorting through matters, which become yet more complicated when DI Kat Fairfield beds a woman he’s seeing and Denkhaus, his superior, reams him out for irritating a local nabob. Meanwhile, someone is sending the newspaper snippets of pictures that may well reveal what started the murder spree. Unbeknownst to McLusky, similar snippets are being used to blackmail the brains behind the killings. Adding to the treachery, of course, is all that snow and ice and an interrupted burglary that lands McLusky on crutches.

Helton delivers a gritty procedural with an idiosyncratic hero well worth rooting for."
Publishers Weekly


Falling More Slowly by Peter HeltonFalling More Slowly (2010)

The first in the new Liam McLusky series.

DI Liam McLusky, freshly transferred from Southampton and recovering from having been injured in the line of duty, has no time to settle in before he is pushed in at the deep end in a new and unfamiliar city.


"Perfectly pitched between dry humour and dread, Falling More Slowly manages to convey the complexities not only of its characters, but also of Bristol itself ... It's a strong debut for a new series and bodes well for future McLusky novels."
Mystery Scene

San Diego Union Tribune

"Helton, who has written three novels in another series, specialises in the police procedural, and "Falling More Slowly" is a testament to his love of the form. It's gritty and realistic, and although an arrest is made, the conclusion - like life - is messy and tentative."
Richmond Times Dispatch

"Engaging first in a new procedural series ... Helton leaves readers all the more eager for the sequel"
Publishers Weekly

"Fall-about funny ... Helton's rich, tactile prose conveys the taste of tobacco and Guinness and the look of dying sunlight ... Helton is an author to be watched."

"Helton provides breezy prose and a lively cast."
Kirkus reviews


Rainstone Fall by Peter HeltonRainstone Fall (2008)

Helton's gripping third mystery

For Chris Honeysett, artist and private investigator in the city of Bath, autumn threatens to bring down more than just the roof of his studio. An exceptionally stormy October forms the backdrop to Aqua Investigation’s strangest case yet.


"Helton's gripping third mystery ... Helton takes what could have been a cliché in lesser hands, the wounded good guy who must break the law to uphold justice, and makes him credible. Also vividly portrayed are Honeysett's associates, fellow painter Annis Jordan and reformed safecracker Tim Bigwood, with whom he shares an old barn that doubles as an art studio and their detective agency headquarters. Shabby genteel Bath during the soggy autumn season serves as a memorable setting."
Publishers Weekly

"Self-deprecating Chris is a charmer ... the most sophisticated bit of slapstick to come along in ages"


Slim Chance by Peter HeltonSlim Chance (2006)

Second in the Chris Honeysett series

Weeks after the body of one victim is discovered in Rainbow Woods another woman is abducted. While the police machinery springs into action, investigator Chris Honeysett has plenty to keep him busy, recovering valuable works of art for the insurers and finding Billy the tramp.

But during his search for the tramp, Chris discovers the abducted woman held captive in a disused railway station.


"The Bath setting, Helton's insights into art forgeries, and the unconventional tactics of Honeysett's somewhat dodgy team ... add up to sheer fun"


Headcase by Peter HeltonHeadcase (2005)

A Chris Honeysett Murder Mystery

Art thieves should be shot. Which is why Chris Honeysett, painter, gourmet cook and amateur sleuth, very nearly doesn't take the case. After all, the police have much better resources for tracking stolen works of art. But his classic Citroën is due for an MOT, parts of his home and studio are falling down, and the price of sea bass is going up relentlessly.  So he can't really turn down the job. And talking of sea bass, something about the stolen paintings does smell decidedly fishy.


"Skilful plotting, wry humour and deftly drawn characters mark this debut"
Literary Journal

"A wry and intriguing start of a new detective series ... Helton has created a wonderfully caustic main character who careens throught this action-packed debut."

"Lovejoy fans will enjoy this debut."
Denver Post