A LOCAL author has finished writing his third book in a popular historical crime series.

Frederick Petford, from Claverham, has written two historical crime novels, The Ghosts of Passchendaele and The Death of Conscience.

Set in the Cotswalds at the end of World War One, his third novel in the Great Tew series, A Question of Malice, is due to be released in October.

Fred, who spent the five years before retiring writing commercially for Disney, was inspired to write The Ghosts of Passchendaele whilst on a freelance job for the Commonwealth War Graves Association.

Fred said: "I stumbled over an officer’s account of a spooky and astonishing event he’d witnessed in a cemetery near the battlefields.

"As I dug deeper I realised I was looking at the plot for a fantastic novel and was inspired to write The Ghosts of Passchendaele."

Fred's author profile on Amazon reads: "The idea for the Ghosts of Passchendaele came from an extraordinary true incident in a World War One cemetery which defied explanation, but was witnessed by a dozen men from a burial party.

"The setting was inspired by Great Tew, a real village in Oxfordshire. It is a delightful place as it stands, although in the narrative I have added other features of classic Cotswold villages.

"Both the village and the surrounding countryside are wonderfully atmospheric, and I hope the photos and maps on this page will help you to picture the Langford Estate as I imagine it is, just after the Great War.

"My own supernatural experiences mirror those in the books. I have a fascination with the ancient landscape and suspect that the people that built the stone monuments that are so prolific in the British landscape knew a great deal that we have long forgotten."

The focus of his newest book is on a locked room murder mystery. Fred adds: "I couldn’t resist the lure of letting my characters tackle this classic crime genre."

The books are available on Amazon as paperbacks and on Kindle, and Fred regularly has a stall at the monthly village markets at Yatton and Claverham where he loves to meet readers coming to buy the next book.

Speaking further about this, Fred adds: "Fans of cosy English crime, historical novels and ghost stories all find something to get their teeth into, so there’s always lots to talk about!"