Stephen Booth

A newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine mill town of Burnley. He was brought up on the coast at Blackpool, where he began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine. He wrote his first novel at the age of 12. 


After graduating from Birmingham Polytechnic (now the University of Central England), Stephen moved to Manchester to train as a teacher, but escaped from the profession after a terrifying spell as a trainee teacher in a big city comprehensive school.


Starting work on his first newspaper in Cheshire in 1974, Stephen was a specialist rugby union reporter, as well as working night shifts as a sub-editor on the Daily Express and The Guardian. This was followed by periods with local newspapers in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. He was at various times Production Editor of the Farming Guardian magazine, Regional Secretary of the British Guild of Editors, and one of the UK's first qualified assessors for the National Vocational Qualification in Production Journalism.


Freelance work began with rugby reports for national newspapers and local radio stations. Stephen had articles and photographs published in magazines ranging from Scottish Memories and Countrylovers Magazine to Cat World and Canal and Riverboat, and a short story broadcast on BBC radio. In July 1999, his writing career changed direction when he won the 5,000 Lichfield Prize for his mystery novel The Only Dead Thing (as yet unpublished).


While living on a smallholding in Yorkshire, Stephen began breeding pedigree dairy goats. He later served on the British Goat Society's governing body and judged at shows all over Britain. He has been chairman of several clubs, including the charity fund-raising Just Kidding Goat Society, and probably his most unusual role was as a director of an artificial insemination company. Specialist publications he's been responsible for include a book on one of the country's oldest goat breeds, The Toggenburg. He's the current President of the Toggenburg Breeders Society. Other interests include walking, photography, and local history.


Stephen's first published novel, Black Dog, marked the arrival in print of his best known creations - two young Derbyshire police detectives, DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry. Black Dog was the named by the London Evening Standard as one of the six best crime novels of 2000 - the only book on their list written by a British author. In the USA, it won the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel and was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Mystery. The second Cooper & Fry novel, Dancing with the Virgins, was shortlisted for the UK's top crime writing award, the Gold Dagger, and went on to win Stephen a Barry Award for the second year running. 


In 2003, Detective Constable Ben Cooper was a finalist for the Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British author, thanks to his exploits in the third book of the series, Blood on the Tongue. The publication of Blind to the Bones that year resulted in Stephen winning the Crime Writers' Association's 'Dagger in the Library' Award, presented to the author whose books have given readers most pleasure. The same book was nominated for the Theakston's UK Crime Novel of the Year award in 2005. Subsequent titles have been One Last Breath, a finalist for the UK Crime Novel of the Year in 2006, The Dead Place and Scared to Live. The eighth Cooper & Fry novel, Dying to Sin, is due to be published in the UK in September 2007. 


All the books are set in England's beautiful and atmospheric Peak District. At the end of 2006, the Peak District National Park Authority featured locations from the Cooper & Fry series in their new Peak Experience visitors' guides, recognising the interest in the area inspired by the books.


In addition to publication in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, translation rights in the series have been sold in twelve languages - French, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Romanian and Japanese.


Stephen gave up journalism in 2001 to write crime novels full time. He and his wife Lesley live in a former Georgian dower house in the county of Nottinghamshire, England (home of Robin Hood and the Pilgrim Fathers). They have three goats and three cats.

March 2007


at the Teresa Chris Literary Agency, 43 Musard Road, London W6 8NR.
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