A LONG-SERVING council officer has found a creative use for his expertise – writing a murder mystery.

'No Accident' is the first published novel by Robert Crouch, who began work as an environmental health officer in Bury in 1977.

The former Derby High pupil has used his knowledge of health and safety to create the story, in which council officer Kent Fisher discovers that the details of a fatal work accident don't add up.

Mr Crouch, who left Bury for Eastbourne in 1983, said: "The book is a murder mystery, a whodunnit. There is a murder that is staged as a works accident and the more he [Kent] investigates, the more suspicious it becomes.

"I have investigated many health and safety issues and accidents, so that is where the inspiration came from.

"I started writing this particular novel a few years ago and, even though I knew from the start who the murderer was, I couldn't work out how the main character could solve the mystery. It was just too clever."

The author, who lived in Bury from the ages of eight to 23, has also managed to incorporate his beloved dog, Harvey, into the story as a sidekick and is hoping readers will respond well to his quirky 'whodunnit'.

He added: "This is my first published book - I have written novels before, but that was for my own amusement as much as anything else. I never thought I would be a published author.

"I'm at an age now where I didn't want to work in local government anymore and wanted to give this a go instead.

"The crime fiction market is chocker block with police stories and this is something a bit different. Nobody has done something like this before.

"People ask me how an environmental health officer could do this, but we have a lot of the same skills that the police have."

'No Accident' is currently available as an e-book and will be published in paperback this month. For more information, visit robertcrouch.co.uk