Writing Crime Novels Set in Wales

Mar 30, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Ripley Hayes

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win ebook copies of the boxed set of the first 3 books in Ripley’s series or an ebook copy of the new book An Allotment of Time, and a link to purchase the new book from Amazon.

It’s just over a year since I wrote to Kings River Life about my foray into writing murder mysteries set in a small town in Wales. When I wrote last, I was about to publish the second in my series of books about DI Daniel Owen. Book six in the series will be released on 31 March. It’s called An Allotment of Time, and it tells the story of how Daniel deals with leaving the police, and forges a new identity for himself. Of course, it’s a murder mystery as well because what’s the point of a book without a body or two scattered around the small north Wales town of Melin Tywyll?

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the books to be as popular as they are. It seems people like Daniel, with all his flaws and insecurities, which is great, because I like him too. The great thing about a fictional character is that you can live vicariously through them, even more so as a writer than as a reader. Daniel is a keen runner, as I used to be before boring health problems, so I can get into his head and enjoy running again. He’s also a keen gardener, which I am most emphatically not, though I think I ought to be. He’s good at DIY, something else I have less than no talent for. But we both share a love of Welsh woodlands and mountains. The end of lockdown has meant that I can get out and explore more of the Welsh countryside, and I mean to make the best of it.

The bizarre thing about writing crime novels set in Wales is that Wales has very low rates of crime. I have probably (fictionally) murdered more people in one (fictional) small town, than were murdered in last year in the whole country. I am forced to bring my villains in from the big cities outside rural Wales because we just don’t have enough homegrown bad guys.

Ripley Hayes

I resolved when I began writing mysteries that I wasn’t going to write about serial killers, and particularly about serial killers who prey on young women. That’s not to disrespect those authors who do write those books, many of which I’ve enjoyed. Instead I wanted to write about more ordinary, domestic kinds of crime. So, while I have loved writing about a couple of horrible organised crime groups, I’ve also written about how murder can arise from the mundane — like needing somewhere decent to live, or wanting to experience something new and exciting. In each case, I’ve had a strong visual image of what lay at the heart of the story. In Undermined it was Daniels’s horror at the way the old mine workings can open up without warning. Dark Water was partly a reaction to the terrible floods we had one year in west Wales where I live. Leavings deals with the wealth tied up in homes, and people who are ‘asset rich, cash poor’. An Allotment of Time was inspired by the British institution of allotment gardens, and the passions provoked by different methods of growing vegetables. Of course, that’s only the beginning.

An Allotment of Time is released on 31 March, 2022. If you haven’t read the Daniel Owen books, and would like to, a boxset of books 1-3 will be published at the same time, for an introductory low price.

To enter to win ebook copies of the boxed set of the first 3 books in Ripley’s series or an ebook copy of the new book An Allotment of Time (winner’s choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “time,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 9, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. BE SURE TO STATE WHICH ONE YOU PREFER. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up last week.

You can use this link to order An Allotment of Time or click here. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link:

Ripley Hayes lives in a cabin in the woods in West Wales, spending her time writing and not doing housework. The cabin is shared with the Author Support Team, two elderly and over-excitable dogs, who ensure that she sees the sun at least once a day. In previous lives, Ripley was an academic sociologist and the manager of housing co-operatives (not at the same time). You can learn more on her website.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in the drawing!

  2. We have a winner!


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