This week sees the publication of Dead Mile, the latest thriller by crime writer Jo Furniss.

It’s a murder mystery with an unusual but intriguing concept – a murder that takes place on a motorway in the middle of a traffic jam.

The novel is in the Agatha Christie tradition of what is known as a ‘locked room mystery’.

Not only is there a murder to solve but there is the added mystery of the killing being seemingly impossible. Jo Furniss brings this classic crime concept brilliantly up to date.

With no way for anyone to leave the gridlock, the killer is still sat in one of the cars. For the protagonist, an off-duty police officer, there is a time limit to solve the crime before the traffic clears and everyone drives away.

It’s one of the best crime books I’ve read this year: if you’re looking for a summer read, I’d heartily recommend.

Last Saturday, I had my own motorway mystery to solve. I was driving my eldest daughter up the M1 for a university open day (that’s a column in itself about getting old and reaching a new life stage).

Anyway, it was a very early start, and so we pulled over at a service station to get a much-needed cup of coffee.

Inevitably, we then hit roadworks.

But as we ground to a halt, thankfully murder free, at least I had my cup of coffee to idle away the time.

But when I reached down to drink it, the coffee cup wasn’t there. I realised with a groan that when I got back to the car at the service station, I must have left it on the car roof (that’s a column in itself about getting old and reaching a new life stage, etc.)

I assumed the cup of coffee now lay sprawling on the slip road at Watford Gap. But as the traffic was diverted off the motorway, what can only be described as a solitary coffee tear dribbled its way down the front windscreen.

The cup was still there! But with no way to stop and cars honking behind, I had to drive on. Getting past the roadworks, I put my foot down to make up for lost time, driving at exactly the speed limit for the next thirty miles.

As we finally reached our junction, I hit the brakes at the roundabout below. At which point, my poor coffee cup finally gave up, toppling off the roof and covering the windscreen in the remains a lukewarm flat white.

No murder here, but still a mystery, if a scientific one. If anyone can explain how that coffee cup survived for so long, I’d love to hear.