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The Body in the Marine Buildings

By Richard Hernaman Allen

A hundred-year-old body is discovered walled up in the flat above one owned by the daughter of Nick and Rosemary Storey. How did he get there and why? Deal was a notorious smuggling town and, as a former Customs Commissioner, Nick thinks it might be a smuggler or an exciseman. As a former Chief Inspector in the Fraud Squad, Rosemary prefers to find evidence. From censuses and other old archives, clues emerge. Could Samuel Rust, inventor of “Rust’s Tonic” be involved? Or Gerard Culpeper, bankrupted by his brother Charles? Or two rival schoolmasters Percival Dromgoole and Jerome Barfoot? And why are their investigations causing someone to write threatening letters, which move on to a bomb in the petrol tank of their car? Will the concerns of the living enable Nick and Rosemary to discover the secrets of the dead, by way of some of the genteel towns in Kent?

Richard Hernaman Allen is a former Commissioner of Customs & Excise, who has written nearly thirty detective stories, mostly set in Customs & Excise.

  • Paperback: 241 pages

  • Publisher: Beacon Publishing Group 

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-13: 978-1949472790

  • Category: Thriller | Fiction

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About Author

Richard Hernaman Allen spent his early years in Loughborough, Leicestershire, got a degree in History from Merton College, Oxford (1st class, Honours), and joined Customs & Excise (C&E) as an Assistant Principal (fast stream trainee) in 1970. After working on the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT), he was Assistant Private Secretary to Maurice MacMillan (Paymaster General at the Treasury) and Harold Lever (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster).


On his return to C&E in 1975 on promotion to Principal, later Assistant Secretary, he worked on VAT, excise duties, customs, planning, budget work, legislation and EEC and other international negotiations, before being promoted to the Board in 1990 where he was responsible for indirect tax policy (1990-91), finance and IT (1991-4), compliance operations (1997-8) & personnel & finance (1998-2001). He also worked as Director in the Department of Social Security (1994-7) on disability and counter-fraud policy and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2001-5) on corporate services.


After early retirement, he worked in various jobs as a consultant, including in Georgia and Kosovo,  reviewing major government projects and providing training for Parliamentary Select Committee hearings, while completing a long novel , “Through Fire”, which he began in 1976. He lives in Petts Wood, on the outskirts of London, and has a flat by the sea in Deal, on the East Kent coast. He divides his time between writing, running, writing and playing music and grandparenting. He has a wife, Vanessa, two daughters, Jo and Kat, and two grandsons, Joshua and Jasper.


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