York is a city of shadows and mysteries. So it is entirely appropriate that it should star in a new series of murder mystery novels - featuring a detective by the name of Chief Inspector Shadow.

The novels - there will be six - come from the pen of first-time author Helen 'HL' Marsay. The first, A Long Shadow, was published on Thursday by US-based Tule Publishing in print and as an e-book.

"Unfortunately with Covid restrictions a launch here in York wasn’t possible," said Helen, who lives near Easingwold with her husband and two teenage sons.

Helen has always loved reading mysteries and trying to work out “whodunnit”. "My detective heroes and heroines are Morse, Frost, Marple and Poirot," she said. "They inspired me to try and write my own detective story."

There was never any doubt in her mind where her novel would be set - York. "It’s crammed full of history, and I really liked the idea of connecting a crime that happened in the past to one being investigated in the present day," Helen said.

A Long Shadow opens with the discovery of the body of a young homeless woman. Later that day, the remains of another girl who died thirty years earlier are also found. "It is up to Chief Inspector Shadow to discover if the two are linked," Helen said. "The title of the book comes from the saying, 'old sins cast long shadows'."

Shambles features on the book's cover. "But a lot of the action takes place in Museum Gardens and Petergate," Helen said. "I also chose to use the Guildhall (where I worked many years ago) as the location for my fictional police station."

She was delighted when Tule agreed to publish the book. "And then they asked me to write five more books featuring Chief Inspector John Shadow and create a whole series," Helen said. "I was thrilled!"

She's already written the next four. So there will be plenty of Shadow thrills in store - including the murder of two York ghost tour guides (Book 3, A Ghostly Shadow) and the theft of valuable artefacts from a Roman museum (Book 4, a Roman Shadow).

A Long Shadow is available from Amazon as an e-book, priced £2.89.