A new murder mystery set on the streets of Oxford shows the “real city” rarely explored by Morse and Lewis, according to its author.

Blood on the Cowley Road is Peter Tickler’s debut novel and its first edition has already sold out after it was officially launched in Headington on Saturday.

The 55-year-old author, who supports Oxford United and lives in Grandpont, said his story is predominately set within the area stretching from East Oxford to the Kassam Stadium.

He said: “It’s very much the real Oxford as opposed to the places the tourists see. There are several scenes at the stadium, as a few characters are involved with the football team.

“Some of [Morse creator] Colin Dexter’s novels were set in more typical Oxford locations, but especially on television and more latterly they become more about the university world.

“My book focuses on the bottom end of Cowley Road and south Oxford, and some of it goes on outside the city, in places like Wittenham Clumps.”

Father-of-four Mr Tickler, who has lived in the city for 30 years after studying classics at Keble College, had previously written biblical tales and short stories for BBC Radio Oxford, and has also published a book on mercenaries.

Explaining the premise of Blood on the Cowley Road, he said:“Someone falls, or is pushed, to their death from a car park in Cowley Road.

“The general assumption is that it was suicide but one death leads to another and on it goes to become a murder quest.

“I’ve always liked crime novels and watched a lot on television. I’ve written lots of different things but they always say write about what you know.

“There is quite a bit in the story about mental health as I worked as a volunteer and as a locum for Oxfordshire Mind, and my wife works for them.

“I think I have made a good story with good characters, and hopefully people won’t guess what’s happened until the end.”

Mr Tickler fits in his writing around his full-time job as a computer programmer for the Potato Council at Oxford Business Park in Cowley.

He said: “This book has taken two-plus years to finish. It seems to have had a really good reaction and the first edition has already sold out.

“It crosses several worlds that are all real to people who live in Oxford — the football club, mental health, the river, the back streets.

“I’m already a third of the way through a sequel, but that has to be written during my spare time and holidays.”