BEST-SELLING crime writer Peter James has thrown himself into research for his new book - by working as a concierge at The Grand.

Guests arriving at the hotel on Brighton seafront yesterday could hardly believe their eyes when they were greeted by the Grace author.

Peter, in full Grand uniform of checked trousers, navy jacket and yellow tie, carried their luggage and helped them through the famous rotating doorway.

The Brighton-born thriller writer, on whose novels the hit TV show Grace are based, is known for his thorough research.

His eight-hour shift gave him an inside look at the life of a hotel concierge and information that will be vital as he writes his next novel.

“It’s going to be for the book after next,” he said.

“I want a character that disappears, and a concierge here reckons that the guy has been staying here, incognito, for several months on and off.

The Argus: Today's concierge team with Peter, centreToday's concierge team with Peter, centre

“So, I wanted to know how much they would see; they don’t miss much.

“I’ve been through all the tasks: recommending places, lugging bags, parking cars – well, I’ve been opening the garage doors, I don’t think I’m insured for the driving.”

The author from Brighton has had experience in many roles for character research across the years: taxi driver, bin lorry worker, and even journalist and editing The Argus.

But his top two are, unsurprisingly, days spent working with pathologists and the police.

“It’s fascinating. I went out with Brighton police last week,” he said.

“I think the police see the world from the other side. I once spent a lot of time with a New York detective - policing out there is so different. Policing there is generally much more in your face than down in Brighton.

The Argus: Concierge Paul Anderson and PeterConcierge Paul Anderson and Peter

“I’ve been out with police in Russia. We got shot at. This cop pushed my head down. This was in 2007.

“I remember saying to the commander, ‘Is the Russian mafia real, or is it just the Western press?’ He said, ‘We lost control of Moscow in 2000, and only got it back this year’.”

Peter is currently enjoying huge success with Grace – the ITV show based on his books – which will be renewed for a third season.

He has a new book out in the autumn, Picture You Dead, which explores the world of art forgery.