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Welshman Leslie Watkins was acclaimed as a top Fleet Street journalist long before his first book was published in 1971. That was an attention-grabbing exploration of somnambulistic violence entitled The Sleepwalk Killers which, like some of his subsequent books was sparked by his newspaper assignments. Watkins' interest in the subject was aroused when he covered the 1961 murder trial of American airman Willis Boshears who had strangled his bed-mate, 20-year-old Jean Constable, at her home in Essex, UK. He was found not guilty because he had killed while fast asleep. His first novel The Killing of Idi Amin was inspired by his 1972 experiences in the crazed dictator's Uganda where he was covering a minor war. He was arrested at gunpoint and accused of being an anti-Amin spy, before being beaten up, imprisoned and threatened with execution. Background for his 1978 novel The Unexploded Man came from extensive interviews he had conducted for the Daily Mail with former inmates of Russia's notorious prison-hospitals - and with psychiatrists who had sought sanctuary in the West. He now lives quietly in New Zealand with his wife Kathleen, two dogs - Skipper and Suzi -and an elderly cat called Bundle.