Monday, January 30, 2017


John Ukah, Author
John Ukah brings us a new detective sleuth--ex-police officer Alex Simpson--in his recently published story MURDER AT MIDNIGHT. Simpson travels to the resort area of Ubudu, Nigeria to rest at a guest house after an illness, but instead encounters murder. Ukah says crime fiction readers can solve the mystery with the clues he provides. Nonetheless, one reviewer said, "this plot kept me guessing."

Ukah, a banker by trade, first became interested in mysteries when he read Agatha Christie. He plans to continue writing more detective stories and is currently working on his next one. When he’s not writing, he enjoys listening to music, watching movies, or reading.

Q: Would you characterize MURDER AT MIDNIGHT as a procedural, crime fiction, thriller, or cozy mystery? Why?

John Ukah: MURDER AT MIDNIGHT is crime fiction. It is a detective story in the whodunit subgenre. The reader has the opportunity to engage in the deductive process as the sleuth who is investigating the crime. The reader is provided the same clues from which the identity of the perpetrator can be deduced. 

Q: What led you, a banker, to write a detective story? Do you enjoy reading mysteries and crime fiction? Who is your favorite author of detective/crime fiction stories?

John Ukah: I enjoy reading mysteries and crime stories. My love for writers like Agatha Christie drew me to this genre. She’s my favorite author of detective/crime fiction stories.  

Q: How do you engage readers to care about your detective protagonist, Alex Simpson? Is he likable? Is he a hero?

John Ukah: Alex Simpson is an engaging character with personal struggles that readers can easily identify with. He is likable and this makes it easier for the readers to care about him. He is also heroic as he untangles a web of clues to expose the murderer at the lodge.

Q: Did you exploit the setting of Obudu, Nigeria to tell your story? What attributes of the area supported your plot?

John Ukah: The story is set in a guesthouse with a gallery of guests who become suspects. The book is supported by the springing up of guesthouses which boast decent facilities in Obudu. The story portrays the serene and therapeutic Obudu environment. It captures the beautiful scenery and comfortable weather conditions – beaches, gardens, amusement parks and ranch resorts which have turned the Obudu Ranch Resort into a holiday-maker's delight.

Q: Does the concept of hero vs villain apply to MURDER AT MIDNIGHT? What makes a good villain?

John Ukah: There is a hero and a villain. I think a good villain has to have likeable attributes. It makes him compelling, yet credible. He should be a worthy opponent to make the hero look good. He should be clever and persuasive.

Q: Did you write MURDER AT MIDNIGHT strictly to entertain? Or did you embed a message or two along the way?

John Ukah: The book covers a spectrum of societal issues in an entertaining way.

Q: What do you consider to be key attributes of a compelling detective story?  Suspense? Red herrings? A competent detective? An interesting puzzle? An intriguing villain?

John Ukah: The key attributes of a compelling detective story are characters that keep the reader captivated till the very last page and live on afterwards in the mind. A compelling detective story has to be well crafted, full of action and suspense. Red herrings, interesting puzzles and an intriguing villain all add to the thrill.

Q: How important is humor to tell your story?

John Ukah: It is vital to telling my stories. I always incorporate humor.

Q: What’s next? Will you continue writing detective stories?

John Ukah: I am currently working on another detective story. This one is a saga of love, pitiful criminalities, investigations, assumptions and deceits. I will continue writing detective stories.

Q: Who is John Ukah? What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

John Ukah: I grew up in Benin City, Edo State of Nigeria. I am a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, Benin City. I am a banker and an Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). I enjoy reading, listening to music or watching a movie when I am not writing.

About John Ukah

John Ukah is a seasoned banker and Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, where he was listed as University Scholar. He also holds a Masters degree in Business (MBA)

MURDER AT MIDNIGHT is set in Obudu, which is a part of Cross River State in Nigeria. The area boasts prime relaxation spots in rustic surroundings, as well as urban trappings for a more contemporary lifestyle.

Alex Simpson, an ex-police officer, decides after a bout of typhoid fever to take a break in a serene and therapeutic environment. The last thing he expects is to be called upon to solve a murder at the Kinging Guest Lodge. But that is what happens, when the delectable and vivacious Maria Marshall is found dead in her bedroom at midnight.

The gallery of characters living at the guest-house and thrown into the mix, do not make his task of solving this chilling and brutal murder any easier.


Chapter One

Back to Obudu

Back to Obudu
It was in late November, after I suffered a severe case of typhoid fever, that I decided to visit Kinging Guest Lodge. I needed to rest. I had overworked myself prior to the illness, which had kept me down for about two weeks. For me, it is like coming home.

I had visited the Lodge earlier in the year; if my memory served me well, it had been in January. The area is reputed to have the most clement weather in the country. With its beautiful beaches, gardens, amusement parks and ranch resorts, it is a haven for tourists. The springing up of guest-houses, that boast decent facilities and affordable rates, has also turned the Obudu Ranch Resort into a holiday-maker's delight. Some people come here on doctors' orders, to recover from one ailment or the other.

Yet, not all my visits have been refreshing. In fact, one could argue that given some of my experiences, I ought to stay away.

During my previous visit, two of the guests died at the Lodge. One, a very old man, of natural causes; the other who had died on the same night, committed suicide.
I had been a member of the Nigerian Police Force, at the time. I resigned in May and went into private practice.

Purchase Links
The direct links to purchase MURDER AT MIDNIGHT on Amazon are:

It is also available on 

Author Links
Publisher web site
Twitter @JohnUkah 

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