Seasoned inspector Max Bellamy is wrestling with a web of possible lies as a case takes an unexpected turn, sparking fears of a political scandal.

Ralph Manningham, a top industrialist and Conservative Party donor has been found dead at home in an apparent suicide.

No, this is not the latest news concerning the General Election, but the narrative of the latest book from Seaton-based author Bruce Harris, titled "The Judas Gene".

In the book, Manningham, who had ousted his father to assume control of the family business, was a major political player, and his sudden demise sent shockwaves through his political circle.

With the magnifying glass of investigation uncovering further problems, Bellamy soon realises Manningham's so-called suicide is far from being simple.

Mr Harris, a former educationist with a successful second career as an author, states that this perplexing 'whodunnit' was penned during his civil partner's battle with a cruel disease.

He said: "This book was written during the time when my civil partner was in the final throes of a long-term illness, Huntington’s Disease.

"Some of the themes in the novel connect with my feelings about my partner, and I do believe that the discipline of writing is a considerable help when life is threatening to take you beyond what you can cope with.

"In the last few weeks of my partner’s illness, I got a lot of help from Hospiscare nurses and care workers, but before then I was pretty much on my own.

"Writing was both an intellectual challenge and a steadying influence for me."

Mr Harris' fiction is often challenging to categorise, and this book is no exception.

Fueled by his partner's love for mysteries, Harris takes on the ‘whodunnit’ genre, adding his quintessential twist to the mix.

He said: "My partner was a great fan of ‘whodunnits’, particularly Christie ones, which no doubt influenced me to write in this genre, however, I also wanted to try and give the traditional ‘whodunnit’ some kind of twist, which I think I do in The Judas Gene.”

Certainly a topical reading just before the General Election next month, readers can only wait to see if Inspector Bellamy unravels the mystery.  

The Judas Gene ( £9.99) is due to be published on Friday, June 28.