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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

The Death of a Smoker: Suspenseful new thriller centres on innocent discovery for the dairy industry

Tony Auffret’s The Death of a Smoker takes us back to 1991. With Germany unified and the Soviet Union crumbling, a small company discovers a solution for the long-term storage of micro-organisms for yoghurt manufacture. But this very innocuous discovery has very different applications for those involved in biowarfare.

This new thriller uses the author’s detailed knowledge of the bio preservation industry to electrifying effect in his debut novel, The Death of a Smoker.

Setting his intriguing page-turner at the end of the cold war (1991), it’s pleasing to meet secret service characters that are more everyday than Bond, and for a novel in this genre to delve more deeply into the motivations of its protagonists rather than serve up the standard altruism and patriotism.

A noteworthy debut novel, The Death of a Smoker will pique the interest of all thriller fans, who will also be pleased to learn that Tony Auffret is already working on a sequel.



The year is 1991, and the Soviet Union is in a state of collapse. But with chaos reigning in Europe and secrets being leaked all too easily from the Ministry of Defence, why should the British Security Services be interested when the premises of a small biotech start-up are burgled, resulting in an accidental death?

Complete with suspected Russian spies and biological warfare, this peculiar case proves more complex to solve than anticipated, and truth and trust are tormented by doubt and deception as the path of the small unit of MI5 agents investigating the case is criss-crossed by innocence and subterfuge, bluff and bullying.

The author says:

“The characters at, and associated with, Tufton Street are portrayed deliberately as people in any workplace, be it small businesses, multinational pharma or leading research institutes, people with quirks and foibles. Some serious, some not, some friendly, some unpleasant, some talented, some less so.

“The background threat is biological warfare which basically has the same problem as yoghurt manufacture, the long term storage of micro-organisms. Hence an innocent discovery to aid the dairy industry could have unanticipated and more sinister benefits elsewhere.

“As for the future, there is a sequel with the same characters. This has two themes: the first being a planned bio-terrorist attack on the British government, using infected mouse droppings. During the investigation a link is found to the missing Quinton Bickley-Morris, and that subsequently leads to his detention.”

Published by Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, The Death of a Smoker (ISBN: 978-1-80378-059-7) is published on 28th June 2022 and is available in paperback £8.99 and Kindle format. Waterstones | Foyles | Amazon | Cranthorpe Millner


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