YORK is set to star - yet again - in the twentieth novel in the best-selling DI Geraldine Steel series by bestselling author Leigh Russell.

In 'Without Trace', a young woman has been gruesomely murdered, her body dumped at the side of a suburban street in the city.

Her clothes are covered in mud, and she has earth, twigs and leaf mould in her hair, nose and mouth, and under her fingernails.

To DI Steel, it's as though she'd been buried - and somehow managed to claw her way out of the grave. But how did she end up here?

Even worse, three other young women have gone missing - all of them from the city's Heslington Lane area.

So begins the latest in a series that has sold more than a million copies worldwide - and is helping to put York on the crime thriller map.

The first - Cut Short - was published in 2009. It featured a young DS Steel, as she then was, on the trail of a murderer who watches and waits from the shadows beside a York park where children play and grown-ups walk their dogs. Soon the bodies begin to pile up...

Since then, DS Steel has been promoted - and she's investigated a string of murders that, if they'd been real, would have made York the murder capital of the UK.

Between them, the books have now sold more than a million copies around the world.

Russell's publishers, No Exit Press, say she's doing for York what Ian Rankin has done for Edinburgh.

Ironically, Russell herself doesn't actually live in York - she's based in London.

But she has been interested in the city ever since visiting her boyfriend (now husband), who was a student studying here years ago.

She says York, with its rambling medieval streets, is the perfect setting for modern crime thrillers.

“My writing has taken me all round the world, but York is the most inspiring city I know," she said.

"With the juxtaposition of modern and medieval architecture, there is a sense of intrigue lurking around every corner."

Not to mention a murderer - at least in her novels.

For York readers who love a murder mystery, there are twists and turns galore in Without Trace - not to mention lots of local landmarks to look out for...

Without Trace by Leigh Russell will be published by No Exit Press on August 31, priced £9.99.