A screenwriter and novelist whose murder-mystery novels are being adapted into a TV series has described the Buckinghamshire town that inspired him as the 'perfect setting' for cosy crime.

Robert Thorogood, 52, is well-known as the creator of the popular BBC series Death in Paradise and, as such, is no stranger to the murder-mystery genre.

After he stepped back from the show that made his name four years ago, Robert's next course of action was to author a series of 'cosy crime' novels a la Agatha Christie, and what better backdrop for unease simmering beneath an idyllic surface than the picturesque town of Marlow, where the 52-year-old settled with his family in the early 2010s. 

"Very few 'cosy crime' stories are set somewhere like London because it's too gritty and urban - I was looking for somewhere similar to St Mary Mead, where Agatha Christie's Miss Marple operates. Then I realised, by coincidence, that Marlow would be the perfect place because on the surface it is this perfect chocolate box town with all these wonderful organisations.

"The joy is taking all of that respectability and suggesting that it's full of nasty, murder-y people. That's what made Marlow the perfect choice."

Bucks Free Press:

A television adaptation of the first book in Robert's series, The Marlow Murder Club, was filmed across the town for two months last summer and will air on the Drama channel this March, and the latest addition to the omnibus, The Queen of Poisons, was published on January 18. 

Shooting last summer was a truly local affair, with crews filming at Marlow's annual Regatta event, in the graveyard of All Saints Church and even using the Town Council building as a temporary set after members agreed to vacate the premises for a week.

Robert described the local reception to the crews as "amazing", adding that while a second series of the TV show, based on volume two, Death Comes to Marlow, has not yet been greenlit, his fingers are crossed.

"The people of Marlow couldn't have been more welcoming. We really needed as much of the town as they could give us and we got even more. 

"The most extraordinary thing was that the crew, who had worked in Hollywood and all around Europe, were absolutely blown away by Marlow. They lived in the gelato shop (Amorino) - you'd see these big, burly blokes walking down the High Street with their ice cream, just marvelling at how civilised and lovely and friendly the town is."

Bucks Free Press:

He doesn't feel he has earned the title of 'Marlovian' yet ("too great an honour") but is grateful for the chance to shine a light on the "beautiful" local area, even if the plot of his most recent novel meant having to tread the line between fiction and reality especially carefully. 

"I was very keen, having done Death in Paradise where everything is filmed on location, to take the same approach in Marlow. You can visit the Town Council building, which we pretended was a dodgy solicitors' office, and you can go ball-to-ball at Longridge (Activity Centre) and imagine that you're consorting with murderers.

"In the new book, the victim is the Mayor of Marlow and I did have to be a bit careful with that. It's tricky where real people are involved because everyone in a murder-mystery story is either a killer, a victim or a suspect.

"I think I've managed to include the Mayor in The Queen of Poisons in a way that means I can't be sued by the council - I hope so, at least!"