Eastbourne and surrounding district is the setting for an absorbing thriller by retired university professor John Pick.
Masque of Blood lives up to its grim title with three shocking murders – one on the Downs above Eastbourne, another at Polegate Railway Station, and the third gruesomely revealed during the panto at Devonshire Park Theatre.
John Pick was the founding Professor of Europe’s first Department of Arts Policy and Management at City University, London and remains Emeritus Professor of Cultural Policy.
Since retiring to Eastbourne in 2002 he has produced a definitive history of the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, an autobiography and a critique of the Brexit fiasco, but he was drawn to crime writing.
John said: “I am fascinated by the sinister currents that run beneath modern life – even in elegant Eastbourne.
“The detective thriller is the perfect means of shining a light on those dark places.”
Masque of Blood introduces us to a diverse range of characters – an ex-detective confined to a wheelchair after a horrific car crash, a nymphomaniac police commissioner, a struggling young actor sidelining as a gigolo, a prominent ornithologist with an interest in more than birds, and others from everyday life in Eastbourne including a tipsy council leader and a blusteringly ineffective MP.
Subtle humour is woven into the story – notably in the aftermath of the panto horror – while the story moves on to reveal the killer.
Eastbourne artist Jane Montague has worked with the author to complement the text with clever illustrations and a dramatic cover design.
Masque of Blood is published by Grosvenor House Publishing and is priced at £7.99.