The River Blackwater provides the setting for a new thriller.

Katherine Pathak’s latest novel, Lawful Death, is the third in her series of Imogen and Hugh Croft Mysteries Series.

It explores the impact of a fatal shooting during a burglary in the fictional hamlet of Cooper’s End, which lies between Maldon and Mundon and is close to the banks of the Blackwater.

When a young man is shot dead during a burglary at Langley Farm, it divides the local community.

Having just published his latest book on post traumatic stress disorder, Professor Hugh Croft agrees to assist Thomas Langley’s beleaguered defence team as an expert witness. As Hugh begins to interview Langley, he discovers the old man - a former soldier - is not quite what he expected.

While Hugh and his wife Imogen are struggling to deal with problems within their own family, they find themselves drawn into a multi-layered web of lies and retribution, resulting in a race against time to protect the people they love the most.

Katherine’s two previous novels, Aoife’s Chariot and The Only Survivor, both feature Essex in their storylines, but Lawful Death is the first to be based purely in the county.

The Dunmow author gave up her career as a history teacher to write full-time while looking after her children Shona, eight, and Jamie, six.

She thoroughly researches her books and turns to her father, Robert Currie, for valuable advice on historical and geographical accuracy.

Katherine said: “Although the internet is an excellent tool for research, I find that discussing things with my dad first, really helps me to understand them better and, in turn, makes the book more believable and true to life.

“For a few years in the mid-1980s, we had a sailing boat which was moored in Maldon in winter and Maylandsea in the summer.

“This childhood experience has been a strong influence on the plot of my latest book, but I had to rely on my dad to help me to recollect the more technical details.”

Katherine is currently working on the fourth novel in the series, The Woman Who Vanished, which is set on the east Essex coast and in Suffolk.

Find out more at or follow her on Twitter @KatherinePathak