THURSDAY 11th JUL, 7.15pm
Banner Cross Methodist Church, Ecclesall Road South, Sheffield S11 9PE - talk for the WI on Ecclesall Road.

MONDAY 15th JULY, 1.45pm
Jubilee Hall, Wellow Road, Ollerton, Nottinghamshire NG22 9AP - talk for Dukeries U3A.

Mansfield Hosiery Mills Sports And Social Club, The Fieldings, Sutton In Ashfield, Nottinghamshire,NG17 2TF - talk for Sutton in Ashfield U3A.




Signed hardback 1st editions of the Stephen Booth standalone novel DROWNED LIVES are available from the Sales pages.

You can choose to have a special dedication, or author's signature only. Payment is through PayPal.

Just click here:

*Sorry, we can only despatch to addresses in the UK at the moment!




The new Stephen Booth standalone novel DROWNED LIVES has been released in UK paperback by Sphere.

DROWNED LIVES is about buried family secrets and a centuries-old feud. It's set against a background of a canal restoration project and the history of the inland waterways of the West Midlands, from the hysteria of 'Canal Mania' in the late 18th century through to the decline of the canals and their more recent role in attracting leisure users - and sometimes crime!

The story takes place in Staffordshire, particularly around the city of Lichfield, an area rich in intriguing history. DROWNED LIVES is very much about how the past affects the present, and discovering who we are through being forced to confront our past.

The central character, Chris Buckley, is an ordinary person thrust into a situation he can't avoid after the arrival of an eccentric old man in his life. Their meeting at a canal restoration site plunges Chris into a dangerous adventure where his own life will be at risk.

This book entered the hardback bestseller list in the UK at number 17 in its first week of publication.

Click on one of the  links below to buy the paperback of  DROWNED LIVES:


WH Smith

Amazon UK

The Book Depository

The Hive

DROWNED LIVES is also available in UK hardback, ebook and audio editions.




Many thanks to the most knowledgeable and supportive of booksellers, Richard Reynolds of Heffers Bookshop in Cambridge, for including the first Cooper & Fry novel BLACK DOG in his picks for the Crime Fiction Top 100.


BLACK DOG celebrates 20 years of publication in 2020, having first been published in the UK by HarperCollins on 2nd May 2000, and in the USA by Simon & Schuster in September of the same year.

There have been many more editions and translations since the first appearance of the Derbyshire detective duo. BLACK DOG continues to sell around the world 20 years later. It's the book which many new readers start with, as it gives an insight into the characters of Ben Cooper and Diane Fry and their complex relationship. When it was first published, BLACK DOG won the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel of the Year in the USA, and was a finalist for the Anthony Award for the Best First Mystery Novel. In the UK, it was named by the London Evening Standard as one of the six best crime novels of 2000 - the only book on their list by a British author.

To give you an idea of the history of this title, below are the covers of 24 different editions. Some of them are from the UK and USA, but there are also a number of translations, including five versions in German, plus editions from the Netherlands, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Japan. The range of interpretations is amazing! 

Many of these editions are still available - and let's hope the history of BLACK DOG will continue well into the future!








It's generally not a good idea for authors to read their reviews! But occasional one comes along where the reviewer really seems to have 'got it'.

So many thanks to Michael Wood for his review of DROWNED LIVES on the 'Crime Squad' website. Michael is a top-notch crime writer himself, as well as a thoughtful reviewer.

Michael writes: "After eighteen novels in the bestseller Cooper and Fry detective series, Stephen Booth has written his first standalone novel, and 'Drowned Lives' is a whole world away from what the crime fiction community know Booth for. Told in the first person and set in the late 90s, the pace is infinitely slower, but the drama is ratcheted, the tension is palpable, and the plot, as we've come to expect from a master of the genre, is a taut and gripping as ever.

Chris Buckley is not your typical protagonist. He's not a maverick. He's not brave. There is nothing about him that stands out from the norm. He's an everyman. He's a council worker facing redundancy who has sunk what little money he has left in a doomed dotcom venture and he's struggling through life with no family, no relationship, and very few friends. On the face of it, Chris isn't the type of character to carry a whole novel, but it's the level of detail Booth instils in his character, dotted throughout the book, that make Chris an ideal storyteller. He literally could be the bloke living next door.

Chris, however, is not alone in his search for his family history. He has a neighbour, sweet-natured Rachel, who is clearly holding a candle for him. This isn't so much as a will-they-won't-they subplot, you'll be itching for one of them to make the first move.

'Drowned Lives' has family history and will appeal to anyone with an interest in genealogy. However, Booth is a clever storyteller. Set in the modern day and our lead character would have spent chapter after chapter staring at a laptop screen, but in the 90s, there was no such thing as so Chris has to go out into the world and talk to people, and it's these disparate characters who are attempting to thwart Chris at every turn.

There are some beautifully written chapters about canals, locks and waterways, and the funeral on the barge is inspired. I've often compared Stephen Booth to the late Reginald Hill in the past and 'Drowned Lives' has cemented that claim for me. Hill was a true master crime writer and a wordsmith. You felt he laboured over every single word to make sure it was the perfect one. I felt exactly the same as I read 'Drowned Lives'. This is a novel written from the heart, with passion and belief. I sincerely hope Booth has other standalone stories up his sleeve."





This year Ben Cooper and Diane Fry are taking a holiday from Derbyshire Constabulary (we think it's very well-deserved after 18 books and all those murders!).

So Stephen Booth's new novel, just out in the UK, is a standalone and not part of the Cooper and Fry series.

This is something a bit different!

The new book is called DROWNED LIVES, and it has a historical theme. It's set in Derbyshire's neighbouring county, Staffordshire - particularly around the city of Lichfield, which is an area rich in intriguing history.

The story is about buried family secrets and a centuries-old feud, against a background of a canal restoration project and the history of the inland waterways of the West Midlands, from the hysteria of 'Canal Mania' in the late 18th century through to the decline of the canals and their more recent role in attracting leisure users (and sometimes crime!).

Canals may look peaceful on the surface, but they can also be dark and threatening. They run almost unseen through miles of countryside, but also reach into the heart of urban areas, even into large cities like Birmingham, which famously boasts having more miles of canal than Venice! And who knows what lies underneath that apparently placid surface?

This book was partly inspired by a current scheme being carried out by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust to restore seven miles of waterway linking the Coventry Canal to the Birmingham Canal Navigations (though the canal in DROWNED LIVES is strictly fictional).

LHCRT have their Tunnel Vision fund-raising appeal running at the moment, led by actor David Suchet, who is most famous for his role as Hercule Poirot. You can support their appeal at Total Giving:

DROWNED LIVES is very much about how the past affects the present, and discovering who we are through being forced to confront our past. The central character, Chris Buckley, is an ordinary person thrust into a situation he can't avoid after the arrival of an eccentric old man in his life. Their meeting at a canal restoration site plunges Chris into a dangerous adventure where his own life will be at risk.

This book will appeal to anyone who has ever researched their family history and found some surprises lurking in their ancestry!

Not only does DROWNED LIVES explore the past as a theme, but the story is set in the late 1990s. That's only 20 years ago, but it feels very much like a historical period. There were no smartphones, people were only just starting to take notice of the internet, and it was the beginning of what was known as the ' bubble' with huge amounts of money being invested in online start-ups which ultimately failed. Social media didn't exist either, so people had to talk to each other instead of spending their time on Twitter. Yes, it was a different world!

UK publishers Little, Brown have produced a stunning cover for the new book. We hope you'll enjoy reading it.

* LATEST NEWS: DROWNED LIVES entered the hardback bestseller list in the UK at number 17 in its first week of publication. Many thanks to everyone who bought it!

You can order the hardback of DROWNED LIVES in all the usual places online (though we always encourage readers to use their local bookshop):


WH Smith:

Amazon UK:

The Book Depository:

The Hive:

* Some online booksellers, such as The Book Depository, offer free shipping to customers in the USA (and many other countries).

And of course there's an ebook edition:

Amazon Kindle:


And an audio download, narrated by David Thorpe:




DROWNED LIVES is now available for readers in Canada in ebook and print editions. Download the ebook here:




Stephen Booth has recently teamed up with fellow author Andy Griffee to offer talks and events on the theme of 'Canal Noir' - the murky appeal of inland waterways as a setting for crime fiction.

A former BBC journalist, Andy Griffee became Controller of BBC regions, based in Birmingham, before he retired and started a new career as a crime writer.

His debut novel CANAL PUSHERS is partly based on real-life news reports around the deaths of young men on the canals and is the first in the 'Jumping Jack Flash' series featuring narrowboat-living ex-journalist Jack Johnson.

DROWNED LIVES and CANAL PUSHERS are the latest examples of a thriving sub-genre of crime fiction. Festivals, libraries or organisations interested in an entertaining session on the theme of 'Canal Noir' can get in touch by email on:

For more information, click here:




There are still some signed and personalised hardback 1st editions of FALL DOWN DEAD available.

Go to the Sales Page and choose your location (UK, Europe or Rest of World), then follow the instructions. You can get your book dedicated or just signed by the author:

Fall Down Dead Sales Page

Check out the other books also available on the Sales Pages.






The 18th Cooper & Fry novel FALL DOWN DEAD was released in UK paperback on 16th May.

This one is set around one of the Peak District most iconic locations, Kinder Scout, the scene of a historic mass trespass in the 1930s which led to the creation of Britain's national parks.

But the Kinder plateau can be a dangerous place, and proves fatal for one walking group member.

"They knew the danger, but they went anyway...

"Almost before she'd stopped breathing, a swirl of mist snaked across her legs and settled in her hair, clutching her in its chilly embrace, hiding her body from view. It would be hours before she was found."

"The mountain of Kinder Scout offers incredible views of the Peak District, but when thick fog descends on a walking party led by enigmatic Darius Roth, the spectacular landscape turns into a death trap that claims a life.

"For Detective Inspector Ben Cooper, something about the way Faith Matthew fell to her death suggests it was no accident, and he quickly discovers more than one of the hikers may have had reason to murder their companion.

"To make things worse, his old colleague DS Diane Fry finds herself at centre of an internal investigations storm that threatens to drag Cooper down with it."

Buy a paperback edition of FALL DOWN DEAD here:


WH Smith:


Or call in at your local bookshop and ask for it!

The UK ebook edition can be downloaded here:



An audio download is also available:





FALL DOWN DEAD is now available in US ebook and paperback editions from Witness Impulse.

Download your ebook of FALL DOWN DEAD here:

Amazon Kindle:

B&N Nook:










The new Cooper & Fry novel FALL DOWN DEAD hit the UK bestseller lists immediately on publication, including reaching NUMBER THREE on The Times hardback fiction chart. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen!




The second of Stephen Booth's free, accessible writing courses in the East Midlands took place in Alfreton, Derbyshire, following a course in Retford, North Nottinghamshire.

The subjects covered over six weekly sessions include character, setting and plot, as well some of the essential technical elements of the craft which new writers often struggle with, such as controlling point of view, 'Show Don't Tell' and the use of dialogue, etc. There's everything from tips for keeping your readers hooked to an explanation of the passive voice and why you should avoid it. Stephen shares advice on routes to getting published, and some insights into the mysterious world of publishing itself.

You can put your name down to be informed about future courses by sending an email to:

When emailing, please give your name, the town where you're located (or that you can get to easily), and a few details about what you're interested in writing and your level of experience. The aim of these courses is to bring opportunities to writers in areas away from the big cities, making them genuinely accessible and affordable. Courses may be run in other parts of the East Midlands region if there's enough interest. Locations will be chosen where most people are based.

The only cost might be the hire of a venue, but many venues have already been offered free of charge. Between 6 and 12 people in a group would be needed to make a course viable.





The 17th Cooper and Fry novel DEAD IN THE DARK is also available in the UK.

How do you prove a murder without a body?

Ten years ago, Reece Bower was accused of killing his wife, a crime he always denied. Extensive police searches near his home in Bakewell found no trace of Annette Bower's remains, and the case against him collapsed.

But now memories of the original investigation have been resurrected for Detective Inspector Ben Cooper - because Reece Bower himself has disappeared, and his new wife wants answers.

Cooper can't call on the Major Crime Unit and DS Diane Fry for help unless he can prove a murder took place - impossible without a body. As his search moves into the caves and abandoned mines in the isolated depths of Lathkilldale, the question is: who would want revenge for the death of Annette Bower?

Meanwhile, Fry is working on a murder investigation of her own in an entirely different part of Derbyshire, where a fractured community is divided against itself.

Stephen Booth ventures into the Peak District's dark subterranean world for this stunning Cooper & Fry thriller DEAD IN THE DARK.

You can order the paperback edition of DEAD IN THE DARK online here:

Amazon UK:


WH Smith:

Or call in at your local bookshop, of course!

Download the book edition here:



and don't forget the unabridged audio download:

or the audio CD version:



image host


In the USA, the most recent Cooper and Fry novel DEAD IN THE DARK is available in both ebook and paperback editions


Barnes & Noble:



Apple iBooks:

A DEAD IN THE DARK blog tour was organised in the USA by Partners in Crime. Check out all these lovely bloggers who have hosted reviews, features, interviews and guest posts:

In particular, check out the interview Stephen did for Crack a Book Cafe, where he talks about his influences, the inspiration for Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, and how he finds time to write (among other things!):






You can listen to Stephen Booth being interviewed by Adam Croft and Robert Daws on the latest edition of the 'Partners in Crime' podcast:




The latest Cooper & Fry novel features the Peak District limestone valley of Lathkilldale, which is not only full of caves, but also the remains of Derbyshire's lead mining industry. Here are a few photos to give a you a taste of the locations from DEAD IN THE DARK:





The paperback of DEAD IN THE DARK reached number 34 in the UK Top Fifty in its first full week after publication.


Last December, Stephen Booth was again joined by ex Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Gibbon in Nottingham for their one-day crime writing workshop 'Researching and Writing the Perfect Murder'.

For aspiring crime writers, these workshops are a unique opportunity to delve into the world of crime fiction and fact. In the morning session Stuart takes you through the scenario of the discovery of a body to the detention of a suspect. Areas covered include the initial steps at the crime scene, suspect enquiries, forensic evidence and police custody procedures.

In the afternoon, armed with your authentic details of a murder investigation, you can join Stephen as he discusses how to create a protagonist who is not only believable, but interesting and engaging. The workshop helps writers to form rounded, multi-dimensional characters who will drive the story. It also covers the importance of clear objectives and a credible motivation to produce a robust plot.

Stuart Gibbon is a former senior police detective with extensive experience in charge of murder inquiries in London and the East Midlands. He now advises writers on police procedure as GIB Consultancy. He also talks to writing groups and appears on TV and radio as a policing expert.

The 'Perfect Murder' workshop can be run in libraries, at festivals, or for writing groups. If you'd like to host the workshop, send an email with a few details to:




The Authors for Grenfell Tower auction has now ended, with £150,000 being raised from more than 700 items. The money will go to a Red Cross fund for the families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Stephen Booth donated a signed copy of the brand new Cooper & Fry novel DEAD IN THE DARK (released on 13th July) AND the unique opportunity to have a character name in the next Cooper & Fry, due to be published in 2018. The winning bid from a Canadian reader was £350. Many thanks for the generosity!







The massmarket paperback of SECRETS OF DEATH hit the bestseller list this month after its release in the UK by Little, Brown.  


The latest Cooper and Fry novel was the highest new entry in the Official UK Top 50, coming in at number 29 in its first full week of sales.


You can order the UK paperback here:

Amazon UK:


WH Smith:

The Hive:

or call in at your local bookshop, of course.

In the UK, you can still buy the hardback and ebook editions of SECRETS OF DEATH too.



A CD audio edition of SECRETS OF DEATH was released by Isis Audio, read by Mike Rogers. 


You can listen to an extract or buy the audio CD here (MP3 and M4B versions):

An audio download version of SECRETS OF DEATH is also available:




The US edition of the latest Cooper & Fry novel SECRETS OF DEATH has been released this month by Witness Impulse in ebook formats.  


"Utterly compelling, and told with stark authority, it is a British police procedural that bristles with reality and humanity on every page. This is crime writing of the finest quality." - Daily Mail 


"Stephen Booth's writing is such a pleasure to read and I enjoy so much spending time with his characters in such a beautiful location, the mystery expertly revealed bit by bit. I love this series. Long may it continue." - For Winter Nights 


"I'd rather given up hope of finding a decent police procedural series which was already well established and had a decent back catalogue to get my teeth into: this series shows that you're never too old to learn." - The Bookbag


US readers can download the ebook now at just  $2.99:


Amazon Kindle:


B&N Nook:

Stephen has undertaken a three-week US blog tour to mark the release of SECRETS OF DEATH. The full blog tour schedule is here:

Stephen has also been hosted on the 'Jungle Red Writers' blog by the best-selling US mystery writer Deborah Crombie, with a guest post talking about the Cooper and Fry series and the complex relationship between fiction and reality:

A US paperback edition of SECRETS OF DEATH was released in May.




Some signed UK hardback first editions of SECRETS OF DEATH are now available from the Sales Page. These can be despatched anywhere in the world. 

But we only have a few copies left, so make sure you don't miss out!




The latest figures for Public Lending Right show that Stephen Booth is still among the top 100 most borrowed adult authors in UK libraries.

The figures also show that the 15th Cooper and Fry novel THE MURDER ROAD was the 20th most borrowed book among library users in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, as well as the 33rd most borrowed title in the North West and Merseyside, and the 91st in the North East. 



 photo IMG_0849_zps7npo9tx2.jpgREAD ON...

Stephen Booth is on the cover of the RNIB's 'Read On' magazine for its latest issue, with an interview inside. 

Earlier this year, Stephen visited the RNIB library in Peterborough to support their work in making books available for visually impaired readers throughout the UK.

If you're in the UK and you're visually impaired, you can sign up for the free Talking Books service from the RNIB right here:

The Royal National Institute for the Blind is a chaerity and relies on donations and fund-raising by the public to fund its work. You can find out how to donate here:




In September the BBC filmed an interview with Stephen Booth as part of their 'Love to Read' campaign, which is running through the autumn to encourage a love of reading and books. 

The resulting feature was aired on 3rd November) on BBC East Midlands Today and on Sky Channel 960. The interview with the BBC's Dominic Heale was filmed partly on Stanton Moor (the inspiration for the second Cooper & Fry novel DANCING WITH THE VIRGINS) and partly in a Peak District pub, the Flying Childers Inn at Stanton-in-Peak. 


The Daily Mail newspaper has just published its list of 'Best Summer Reads' recommendations. These are the books you should be reading on the beach over the summer holidays!

In the Crime and Thrillers section, along with Stephen King and Alan Furst, you'll find one British crime novel they recommend this summer - and, yes, it's the latest Cooper & Fry novel SECRETS OF DEATH!

The Daily Mail review says of SECRETS OF DEATH: 

"Utterly compelling, and told with stark authority, it is a British police procedural that bristles with reality and humanity on every page.


"A series of apparent suicides at beauty spots, which are being called ‘suicide tourism’, seem mysteriously to be linked as some of the victims are found with a business card that reads simply: ‘Secrets of death’. 


"Are they being orchestrated in some way? Cooper and Fry have to find out before more die. This is crime writing of the finest quality, and it is no surprise that there is a television version on the horizon."

We can't argue with that!


 photo The Murder Road copy_zpstwi8ter0.jpgOne of the signs of Spring is a new Cooper and Fry paperback in the shops. The 15th novel in the series THE MURDER ROAD was released in UK massmarket paperback in May. 

THE MURDER ROAD reached number 17 on the Sunday Times bestseller list when it was published in hardback last year. 

Maxim Jakubowksi wrote on Love Reading:

"This 15th novel in a series that should in all justice soon make it to our TV screens is as assured as ever. An impeccable police procedural with a touch of class."

THE MURDER ROAD explores the consequences on a tiny Peak District community when a lorry which becomes jammed under a railway bridge is found to have a blood-stained cab and a missing driver. 

For residents in the hamlet of Shawhead, there's only one way in and one way out. And some of them may never go out at all.  Detective Inspector Ben Cooper is on the scene with his team from Derbyshire E Division. But the one person who may hold the answers to the mystery is found hanging from a walkway high over the river in the nearby town of New Mills. 

With the arrival of a new sergeant, Cooper is unsure of his position in E Division. So who will he turn to when his case takes a dramatic turn?

THE MURDER ROAD is set around the towns of New Mills and Whaley Bridge, in the north west corner of Derbyshire. Locations range from the Torrs gorge, with its spectacular Millennium Walkway (below left), to the recently restored canal complex at Bugsworth Basin (below right). 

It's available in ebook formats in various parts of the world too, including the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

The latest review for THE MURDER ROAD comes courtesy of the Lancashire Evening Post, who describe it as "Top notch crime writing with an irresistible sense of place". Read the full review here:

Stephen Booth has just done a Q&A on a sense of place in crime fiction, planning (or not planning), and THE MURDER ROAD over at the 'First First Page to Last' blog:

There are also still a few signed hardback first editions available from this website:
The Murder Road Sales Page




The 15th Cooper & Fry novel THE MURDER ROAD has been released in the USA in paperback and ebook editions by Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins. 

You can download THE MURDER ROAD in all the usual places, including:

Amazon Kindle:

B&N Nook:

The US paperback edition of THE MURDER ROAD can be ordered online here:



The previous fourteen novels in the Cooper & Fry series are also available in the USA from Witness Impulse:





 photo TheCorpseBridge_zpsd5c9f46c.jpgThe massmarket paperback of the 14th Cooper & Fry novel THE CORPSE BRIDGE was released in the UK on 18th June by Little, Brown. 

In this latest instalment in the lives of Derbyshire police detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry and their colleagues in E Division, the Peak District locations range from an abandoned cheese factory to the primeval landscape of the Dragon's Back, from mysterious testing grounds near Buxton to the ancient bridge itself.

"The old Corpse Bridge is the route taken for centuries by mourners from villages on the western fringes of Derbyshire to a burial ground across the River Dove, now absorbed into the landscaped parkland of a stately home called Knowle Abbey. 

"When Earl Manby, the landowner, announces plans to deconsecrate the burial ground to turn it into a car park for his holiday cottages, bodies begin to appear once again on the road to the Corpse Bridge. Is there a connection with the Earl's plans? Or worse, is there a terrifying serial killer at work?

"Back in his job after the traumatic events of previous months, Detective Sergeant Ben Cooper knows that he must unravel the mystery of the Corpse Bridge if he's going to be able to move on with his life. 

"As the pressure builds, Ben doesn't know who he can trust and, when the case reaches breaking point, he has to make a call that could put everything - and everyone - at risk..."

The Daily Mail says: "Booth skilfully portrays a stunning landscape with a dark heart that conceals secrets, vendettas and revenge."

And 'Book Addict Shaun' said in his review of THE CORPSE BRIDGE:

"This is one of his best books to date... do not hesitate to pick it up and devour it!"

The paperback of THE CORPSE BRIDGE can be ordered online now:


Amazon UK:

WH Smith:

The Hive:

or call in at your local bookshop, of course!

An ebook edition can be downloaded here:

Amazon Kindle:

Waterstones ePub:

And the unabridged audio version is also available, read by Mike Rogers:




The latest addition to the Virtual Casting Page suggests that some readers may think of Ben Cooper as the Poldark of the Peak District! 

Actor Aidan Turner, who plays the Cornish heart-throb in the BBC TV series 'Poldark', has been suggested as the latest possibility for the role of the Derbyshire detective if Cooper and Fry reach the small screen. 

Check out all the suggestions on the Virtual Casting Page and let us know what you think. 

Or why not send in your own suggestions for the actors you picture playing the roles of Ben Cooper, Diane Fry, Gavin Murfin, or any of the other characters in the series:








In the USA, the Cooper & Fry Mystery Collection #1 is currently sitting at number 1 on Barnes & Noble's Top 100 Nook bestseller list, following the latest promotion from its US publishers Witness Impulse.

This ebook collection features the first three titles in the Ben Cooper and Diane Fry series - Black Dog, Dancing with the Virgins and Blood on the Tongue - all together in one volume. A perfect introduction to the series!

US readers can download the collection for a special discount price of just $0.99 cents (for a limited period only):

Amazon Kindle:

Barnes & Noble Nook:


Eleven more titles in the series are also available in the US. 



The latest Cooper & Fry novel THE CORPSE BRIDGE entered the UK bestseller list at number 17 in its first week on sale. Many thanks to all the dedicated Cooper & Fry readers who rushed out and bought it in the first few days!



Stephen Booth wrote a guest blog over at 'Mystery Fanfare' on the role of the Peak District in the Cooper & Fry series. Check it out here (and why not leave a comment too?):




The new HarperCollins digital imprint Witness Impulse have re-launched the Cooper & Fry series in the USA in ebook formats. The first title, BLACK DOG, was released in October 2013 and has since hit number 1 in Barnes & Noble's ebook bestseller list (for the full story on this, click here).

BLACK DOG was the book which first introduced young Derbyshire police detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry to the world, along with their 'E' Division colleagues and the fictional Peak District town of Edendale. There are now 13 books in the series, with a 14th on the way.

Described by reviewers as "Dark, intense and utterly compelling" and "Simultaneously classic, contemporary and haunting", BLACK DOG tells the story of a murdered teenager whose death rips apart a sleepy village, and the two police officers who become involved in the subsequent investigation. On its original publication, it won the Barry Award for the Best British Crime Novel in the USA, and was a finalist for an Anthony Award for Best First Mystery.

If you're in the US and you haven't experienced the Cooper & Fry series yet, now would be a good time to start! 

Witness Impulse are releasing one more Cooper & Fry novel a month through to August 2014, with TWO releases a month in June and July. The 8th novel DYING TO SIN was released on 6th May, and THE KILL CALL is coming up on 3rd June.  

For more information, please visit our new Black Dog Witness page:

To coincide with the release of BLACK DOG, Stephen Booth took part in a month-long 'virtual book tour'. 

Several online reviews have been published, such as the one at the 'Cabin Goddess' blog:

or at 'Bless Their Hearts Mom':

or 'Hotchpotch':

There are some interviews with Stephen, including one over at OmniMystery News, where he talks about the origins of BLACK DOG and the characters of Ben Cooper and Diane Fry:

also at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews:

and at CMash Reads:

Finally, Stephen was invited to write a guest post for The Top Shelf blog on 'The Definitive Crime Novel'. What was the first ever detective story? You might be surprised by his answer!

But if you'd like to start your introduction the world of Cooper and Fry straightaway, here are the direct download purchase links for BLACK DOG: Kindle                Barnes & Noble Nook                   Apple              Google Play              

Books-a-Million                        Sony Ereader                          Kobo

You can also read the first chapter of BLACK DOG here:




Following some well-publicised problems among retailers last year, independently published books like TOP HARD are still not being listed by some major UK booksellers, including Waterstones and WH Smith.

The good news is that the trade paperback edition of TOP HARD (currently priced around £8.99) is still available for UK customers from these retailers:

Foyles            The Book Depository            Amazon UK

Or direct from the Westlea Books website:

Meanwhile, ebook versions are available for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iPad etc from:

Or from your ebook retailer:            Amazon Kindle            Kobo            Nook            Apple

IN THE USA, there have been no problems reported. To purchase the paperback online in the US, American readers can choose from:

Amazon USA            Barnes & Noble            Books-A-Million

Or download ebooks from:            Amazon Kindle          B&N Nook            Apple          Ganxy              

TOP HARD is a standalone crime novel, very different from the Peak District novels. But, like the Cooper & Fry series, it's set in a very specific time and place. Readers' reviews say:     "Funny and refreshing"        "Entertaining"        "A great read"


As he watches criminals target a French lorry parked by the side of the road, Stones McClure thinks his plans might actually come together for once. He's looking forward to a life full of everything he could possibly want. Money, cars, a pair of fancy cowboy boots - who could ask for more? But things aren't always what they seem. And Stones should know it better than anyone.

It's Nottinghamshire, England, in 1998. Derelict pits, decaying villages, rundown housing estates - all surrounded by vast, historic mansions in country parks known as the Dukeries. And there's no sign of Robin Hood to spread a bit of the wealth around. 

In a world full of injustice, among people still haunted by memories of the 1984 Miners' Strike, Stones is a man trying to put his old life behind him for good. But for Stones and his friends, survival in these coalfield villages depends on the Top Hard Rule: You can't trust anyone these days. 

Now it's all about to go very wrong for Stones McClure. Someone is out to get him. And most surprising of all, it isn't one of the women in his life...

TOP HARD is an irreverent crime story, reflecting life in the Nottinghamshire coalfield villages in the 1990s, and the attitudes of people living there. WARNING: some views expressed by the characters are politically incorrect, and not to be taken too seriously!


In 1998, TOP HARD was shortlisted for the first ever Crime Writers' Association New Writing (Debut Dagger) Award for unpublished novels. A few years later, a short story version was contributed to the CRIMINAL TENDENCIES anthology, as a fund-raiser for breast cancer research. The story was selected for this year's MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 8, which is published by Robinson in the UK, and for its US/Canadian edition THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH MYSTERIES 8, from Running Press.  








The Virtual Casting Page has been updated with lots more suggestions from readers for actors to play the roles of Ben Cooper, Diane Fry and Gavin Murfin, if the Cooper & Fry series should ever reach the small screen. 

Among the latest additions to the page are Tom Hardy, Nicholas Burns, Sean Biggerstaff and Warren Brown for DS Ben Cooper, with Felicity Jones, Suranne Jones, Lisa Faulkner and Zoe Lucker suggested for DS Diane Fry, and Mark Benton, Mark Addy and Paul Loughran for DC Gavin Murfin.

Let us know what you think, or send you own suggestions!

You can also join in the current discussion with other readers on Stephen Booth's Facebook page:




Stephen Booth has experienced an encounter with the Reverend Strachan McQuade (Deceased) in the notorious 'Dead Man Talking' interview series. You can read the results of their meeting online here: 




The Ben Cooper story CLAWS is available for the Kindle ebook reader in the UK, USA and Germany. And it's selling for less than a pound (or less than a dollar or a euro, depending where you live!).

You can currently download CLAWS FREE direct from:

Amazon UK           
Amazon USA         
Amazon Germany  

If you live in a country without a Kindle store, or if you use an ebook reader other than a Kindle, don't worry - you haven't been missed out! CLAWS is also available for download in ePub, mobi (kindle) and pdf formats via XinXii:


There's also a new dedicated site at where you can download ePub, mobi and pdf formats of CLAWS. Purchases can be made on this site from 55 countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, all of Scandinavia, some parts of Eastern Europe - and too many other countries to mention! Go to:

* A pdf version can be read on pretty much any personal computer using a program such as Adobe Reader, which is usually pre-installed.

CLAWS is a short novella of 15,000 words, an outing for DC Ben Cooper without the help (or hindrance ) of Diane Fry. It sees Cooper investigating wildlife crime in one of the most sensitive environments of the Peak District national park. There's also a return appearance by a character who first appeared in BLIND TO THE BONES, PC Tracy Udall.

In the wild crags of the Dark Peak moorland, a ruthless conflict has been raging for years. The discovery of an illegal haul from the bedroom of a terraced house is a clue to what might be at stake - perhaps the entire future of one of the most prized landscapes in the Peak District National Park.

For young Derbyshire police detective DC Ben Cooper, an assignment to the Rural Crime Squad means stepping into the middle of the conflict, without being quite sure whose side he's on.

The predators come in all shapes and sizes. And in this battle, not all the victims will be human...

This was one of the first titles published in the 'Crime Express' series by Nottingham independent publisher Five Leaves, and was recently re-issued in a new paperback edition. Mystery Scene magazine said: "The marketing geniuses at Crime Express deserve kudos for starting this smart series with Stephen Booth's CLAWS."

As well as all the usual places, the Crime Express titles are available from Inpress Books, an online bookstore specialising in books from independent publishers:



To help all you location detectives out there, Stephen created two customised maps on Google, marking all the major locations in LOST RIVER.

LOST RIVER is set partly in Birmingham, where locations include the decaying industrial area of Digbeth, Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter, and modern additions to the cityscape such as Brindleyplace and the award-winning Selfridge's store (known to Brummies as the Dalek's Ballgown).

These and many other locations can be tracked on the LOST RIVER Birmingham map, along with photos and a bit of local information:

But, of course, we haven't abandoned Derbyshire! Part of the story is set in and around the historic market town of Ashbourne, as well as the surrounding valleys of the River Dove and River Manifold. On the LOST RIVER Derbyshire map you can find the famous Dovedale stepping stones, the curious 'money trees', the village of Wetton, and even Ashbourne police station:

You can use the controls to zoom in and out, or click on one of the blue placemarks on the map or at the side of the screen to go straight to a particular location. If you're signed in to Google, you can use Street View in many places to get right down to ground level and see what it's like on the street (though in Dovedale you can only get as far as the car park - it's all on foot after that!).

Please give the maps a try, enjoy the scenery of the Peak District - and discover some interesting locations in Birmingham, too - then let us know what you think:



Several more suggestions from readers have now been added to the picture gallery on the Virtual Casting Page. Among the latest actors to be suggested for the screen role of DC Ben Cooper are Matt Bardock and Martin Freeman, while Melanie Gutteridge is put forward to play DS Diane Fry, and Trevor Cooper for DC Gavin Murfin. Let us know what you think!




Here's a chance to see Stephen Booth talking live about THE KILL CALL. Stephen recorded an interview at Lowdham Book Festival for new digital TV station The Book Channel, which is broadcast in July on Sky Channel 166, Freesat Channel 402, and live on the internet at

Stephen's interview from the show has been uploaded to YouTube. You can view the full item at:


Follow in the footsteps of Cooper & Fry

This Summer, why not get out your walking boots and follow in the footsteps of DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry?

Some of the locations used in the Cooper & Fry series are featured in a new Peak District visitors' guide. Now you can follow Ben Cooper's footsteps of DC as he walks the snow-covered slopes of Irontongue Hill, or take the same route as DS Diane Fry and DC Gavin Murfin as they venture deep into the tunnels of Speedwell Cavern.  

'Front Row of the Peak' has a film and literature theme, and it's just one in a series of ten Peak Experience booklets. Memorable locations from DANCING WITH THE VIRGINS, ONE LAST BREATH and SCARED TO LIVE are among the sights recommended to visitors, along with settings used for the filming of JANE EYRE and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. You can also find places that have appeared in TV drama PEAK PRACTICE and the BBC’s THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN.

The new visitors' guide was launched in Bakewell during the Peak Book Festival, and copies are available from Peak District visitor centres. You can also find more details of Cooper & Fry locations online at the Peak Experience website, along with an interview with Stephen Booth about his Peak District inspirations. 

"An authentic voice of the Peaks! Booth’s details ring true: the climate and seasons, wildlife, contrasts between valley-bottom life and harsher remote hillside living, characters’ names and even the ways people speak are strikingly authentic. Booth knows the Peak District."
- Peak Experience


Meanwhile, you can get a taste of the wonderful Peak District landscape by viewing the slide show on the Peak District Page of this web site.




Following a readers' day for visually impaired readers, Stephen Booth was asked to record an interview for 'talking newspaper' the Mansfield Echo. The full interview is also available to listen to from the website of the local newspaper, the Mansfield Chad. Just visit interviewer Bill Purdue's Chad book blog, and you can either listen online or download the interview to your PC:



TV wildlife man chooses BLACK DOG

TV wildlife presenter NIGEL MARVEN ('Walking with Dinosaurs' and 'Prehistoric Park') has named BLACK DOG as one of his six favourite books. 

"BLACK DOG - I couldn't put it down!" says Nigel.

('My Best Books' feature - Daily Express)

Thanks, Nige!

Is there a real Ben Cooper in the Peak District? Well, at least one! The real-life Ben is a member of the Edale Mountain Rescue Team, who do a vital job helping walkers and climbers lost or injured on the hills. The MRT consists entirely of volunteers, and they're on call 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. They receive no official funding, but rely solely on voluntary donations. Think you could help them? For more information on what the MRT do, check out their website: Edale Mountain Rescue Team


Sunday Night & Monday Morning
Stephen contributed a short story to an anthology released in November 2005. STUN TO STICK is one of 16 stories by Nottinghamshire writers in 'Sunday Night and Monday Morning' from Five Leaves Publishing. There's no appearance by Cooper and Fry in this one! Other writers contributing stories include John Harvey, Robert Harris, Clare Littleford, Jon McGregor and Julie Myerson. Copies at £9.99 can be ordered from Five Leaves, online from Amazon and WH Smith, or in the UK from your local bookshop (ISBN 090712352X). 

Click here for more details of the book.

Stephen contributed his recipe for Accidental Bakewell Pudding to a new mystery writers' cook book called 'A Second Helping of Murder', published by Poisoned Pen Press

For full details of available and forthcoming editions, 
including translations, go to the Books page.  

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Last updated 24th June 2024


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