Man and dog in snow

Fishing Boats in ice

About the book

You can now buy the novel as an ebook here!

Paraffin Winter is a murder mystery novel set in the South Coast UK town of Poole in the long, cold winter of 1963.  This was  a time when the country was still struggling with the after effects of the war, a time of fried spam dinners, starting handles and paraffin oil stoves, a time when the population eyed each other suspiciously across the class divide.  Many young men had survived the war with high hopes and experience of killing: not a happy combination.  The enlightenment of the nineteen-sixties had not yet begun.

Struggling to keep their heads above the icy water, Ronnie and Jenny Delaney are getting by.  But then, when Ronnie allows himself to be dragged into investigating a murder, his past catches up with him and he soon finds that he’s out of his depth, in a mire of protected interests that stretch all the way up to the Government.   It's going to take someone cleverer than Ronnie to get to the bottom of this one. And that someone is closer than he could ever have imagined ...

Paraffin Winter is a murder mystery, it's about tracking down a killer.  But it’s also about Britain in the early 1960s, about relationships, about social class, and about how everything was about to change as the 1960s unfolded.  For Ronnie and Jenny, for the abandoned heroes of the second world war, for the whole of Britain, nothing would ever be the same again.

Fact and fiction

train in snow
car in snow
Paraffin Winter combines fact and fiction in telling its story.  While the main characters are fictional, including all the Poole Borough councillors and the Poole Member of Parliament, there are a few real people who drift into the murder mystery story (see 'real characters' page).  And the story is set against a backdrop of real events: the death of Hugh Gaitskell, the changes in energy and fuel technology, the Profumo affair, the Beatles early singles and of course, the long winter.  The 'Methane Princess' and 'Petworth' were real ships too, although their crews are entirely fictional. 

The descriptions of Poole in the early sixties are also real, as are the pubs on Poole Quay.  And while (to the best of my knowledge) Gas Street and Railway Terrace are fictional addresses, there were plenty of streets just like them in Poole before the town centre slum clearance programmes.

On this site, you can find out more about the early sixties, and the shape of that long, cold winter.  I hope you enjoy it.


Reading Paraffin Winter

The book is now complete as a free serialised podcast, at  You can find it at:

The version of 'In the Bleak Mid-Winter' on the podcasts is from 'Tidings', an album by Allison Crowe, a highly original, talented and independent Canadian artist.  Find out more about her music at:


The novel is also available as an ebook.  To download the first chapter of Paraffin Winter as a pdf, click on the book cover:

PW cover

To buy the full e-book from Amazon, follow this link.


Listed on eLibrary - Open Ebooks Directory - includes most of the ebooks sold on the internet. Free for addition of one's own ebooks.


If you have any comments or questions, you can contact the writer at:

Thank you for your interest!

garage in snow

the novel

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