AN author who started his novel in 1973 has finally finished it more than 40 years later.

Barry Webb, from West Harnham, held a book launch at Waterstones on Friday for his first novel A Book About A Matchbox.

The novel explores the idea of a matchbox with a special gift – it stores up tales witnessed from the pockets of its previous owners to be passed on to its final owner.

The book is a selection of short stories that vary in context and impact, with light-hearted as well as thought-provoking themes. As the stories take place over several decades, Webb hopes they will resonate with adult readers of all ages.

Webb began working on the idea in 1973 but wasn’t able to really put the time needed into writing his novel until he retired in 2010.

The book is published by Troubador and is priced at £8.99, or £3.99 for the ebook.