EVEN from an early age writer John Sutton was dealing with local crime stories.

Back then it was as a clerk in his father’s solicitors but more recently he’s been dealing with crime of a very different sort, introducing the world’s most famous detective to our area.

And not content with penning just one book on Sherlock Holmes, John is bringing out two, within a matter of months of each other.

In his first book, In Unhallowed Rest, Watson meets a man in Waterloo station that leads himself, Holmes and Inspector Lestrade to the Essex/Suffolk borders where a series of murders point to a possible satanic cult of Vampirism.

Set in Dedham, that book came out in November, but hot on its heels is another Sutton Sherlock adventure entitled Upon A Nation’s Honour.

In that book, due out on February 15, Holmes is this time employed by the government of 1916 to find the agents of a foreign power who have stolen secret radio detection equipment from the newly built Dreadnaught battleship.

He says: “Rather than being a homage to Conan Doyle, I’ve tried to just write a story that happens to have Sherlock Holmes as a character in it.

“I’m fascinated by the era the Holmes books are set in and I’ve been pretty meticulous in my research on that period in history. That’s one of the best bits about writing these fictional stories is finding out the factual bits they’re based on.”

Born and brought up in Colchester, after working in London for many years, John returned to the town to set up his own business.

He says: “After school I went to work for my father’s firm here in Colchester for about four years and I really enjoyed handling clients and dealing with some incredible cases, including some murders.

“The problem was I liked the practice but not the studying and so after meeting someone who worked for the Financial Times, I got a job in their advertising department.”

Building up their industrial property portfolio, John then moved into magazine publishing before eventually moving back to Colchester to set up a contract furnishing company fitting out pubs, clubs and leisure venues.

But alongside running his company, John has always written.

“It started with the writing of a few film scripts with a journalist friend of mine, Paul Davidson,” John tells me. “The first one was about the capture of Hitler’s lavatory assistant, who I read about in a book, and then there was a crime thing about a reporter and a police inspector. We did them just for fun really.

“I love writing the books. They’re a lot of work, especially when you include all the research that needs doing to make sure you get the facts right, but when you get into the story it’s a rather lovely thing to keep your mind occupied.”

Released by Sherlock Holmes specialist publisher MX Publishing, In Unhallowed Rest is available on-line now, while Upon A Nation’s Honour comes out next month.