AN author who has been shielding managed to write a new book during the first national lockdown.

Finding himself confined to his home in March, Patrick Forsyth, of Saltcote Maltings, embarked on third novel A Rather Curious Crime, which is set in Maldon.

It follows cub reporter Alice Carter who always wanted to be a journalist.

Still new to her first job on a local newspaper, she reckons her editor seems to view her as the office dogsbody.

Nevertheless, she tackles everything conscientiously and is learning a lot and hopes planned visits to the local library and a top executive will prove of more interest than competitive pie-eating.

While the routine is getting to Alice, elsewhere someone is laying plans for a criminal act in the town which will mix danger and hope, and is in no way routine.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Patrick Forsyth's third novel 'A Rather Curious Crime'Patrick Forsyth's third novel 'A Rather Curious Crime'

Mr Forsyth, who is in his 70s, wrote his first book in 1980.

He said: “As lockdown began, I quickly realised how much time I spent out and about at meetings and social events that the new circumstances now ruled out.

“Something constructive was called for to fill the time.

“I’d had ideas for a third novel gathering dust for a while.

“I got these ideas sorted out and settled down to what many writers call the BOSHOK stage – bum on seat, hands on keyboard – which is in any case a solitary occupation.

"It kept me busy and it kept me sane.”

A Rather Curious Crime costs £8.99 from Maldon Books, Amazon or from Patrick himself.