Author pens third crime thriller inspired by working at Dagenham police station

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 January 2017

Crime thriller author Maureen Gay outside Dagenham police station with her two previous novels.

Crime thriller author Maureen Gay outside Dagenham police station with her two previous novels.


A grandma has brought her experience of the “sad, mad and seriously bad” to an action-packed thriller series – set down the road.

The third installment in Maureen Gay’s The Singhing Detective series is out in May, focusing on the adventures of a (loosely) fictional Sikh detective Jaswinder Singh.

The 68-year-old met the man who inspired the character while working at Dagenham Police Station as a charging centre manager, coordinating Crown Prosecution Service lawyers with the police.

“I was sitting there, thinking I want to do a detective novel, then this man walked in, he joked, he cajoled, he’s really East End,” explained Maureen, who penned her first novel in her 50s.

She moved from Bentry Road, Dagenham, to Chelmsford ten years ago after her three children decided the area was “surrounded by murder”.

But her characters and cases remain inspired by those she met in Dagenham and as a witness care officer at Barking’s Fresh Wharf Custody Base.

“It’s got a hell of a lot of dark humour, a lot of bits in it are very funny,” admitted the grandma-of-eight.

“There’s an awful lot of swearing in the book – there’s not a lot of ‘Oh deary me!’”

Written under the pen name of M.C.Dutton – to avoid anyone thinking it “namby-pamby” – the book covers everything from petty bike theft to the discovery of a paedophile ring.

And from foul-mouthed officers to “Mad Pete” on Barking’s Gascoigne Estate, you may find this fiction rather close to home.

“Writing is as exciting as reading,” Maureen added. “You think you know what’s going to happen but sometimes he takes over – he does what he wants to do!”

Sugar and Spice will be out in May. It will be available through publisher Matador and on Amazon for £9.99.

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