AMSTERDAM’S criminal underworld is a far cry from Knutsford, but the darker side of the Dutch capital has captured the imagination of a self-published Plumley author.

Having failed to secure a mainstream publishing deal, Nick O’Brien, 61, took to Feed A Read, an independent publisher backed by the Arts Council of England, to circulate his debut work.

The accountant – whose friend, Lower Peover resident John Burke, is responsible for the cover illustration – is enjoying positive feedback about mysterious drama Respect for the Dead.

“I have been told that literary agencies receive several thousand unsolicited manuscripts every year – one told me they receive up to 15,000,” he said.

“I decided to self-publish in Kindle format on Amazon, and I’ve been delighted with the small number of reviews I’ve had so far.

“If they continue in that vein there may be hope for the book yet.”

The main protagonist is Roger Carter, who lives in south Manchester in 1997, a world before the predominance of mobile phones and the internet.

Married, middle-aged, father of a 15-year-old daughter and disillusioned with the daily humdrum of working for the same insurance company for 30 years, Roger’s story begins when he is sent to Amsterdam on business.

“The book is predominately a crime mystery,” said Nick.

“But it’s laced with touches of humour, the combination of which is designed to both shock and delight the reader.

“There are also a number of moral undertones to the story which should cause the reader to reflect on life.

“I started writing it several years ago, tinkering with ideas in the beginning, but in recent years the pace increased as the settings, the plot and the characters took on better shape.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – creating the characters is all part of the attraction – it was exciting writing creatively about the predicaments they find themselves in.”

Respect for the Dead is also available in paperback from Amazon, Waterstone’s and Feed A Read.