A MAN who had his first novel published as a pensioner is now receiving rave reviews for his fourth.

Six years ago Paul Henderson saw his debut novel Last Train to Coffeeville hit the shelves of book shops.

Humorously and warmly written, the book addressed two sensitive issues - death and Alzheimer’s disease. It met with glowing feedback, attracting praise from the national press.

‘There is heartbreak…black humor…and the charm of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,’ said the Daily Mail, while the Huffington Post described it as ‘brilliant’.

Now Bradford-born Paul, 72, who lives in Baildon, has penned his fourth novel, Daisy, which publisher No Exit Press says will appeal to fans of the TV series Last Tango in Halifax.

The book’s central character Herod ‘Rod’ Pinkney - a wealthy, unmarried Londoner who sets out on an improbable quest to track down an American woman he fell in love with after seeing her on TV in an old episode of Judge Judy. Before embarking on a journey to the US with his pal and next-door-neighbour Donald, he sets out his intentions in a letter to a US tracing agency, but due to dyslexia gives his age as 48 not his true 84.

While there is much humour, the quirky, nicely observed tale is also a touching meditation on ageing and loneliness.

After studying American history at Bangor University Paul was heading for a career in accountancy. But before starting work, while he travelling on a Greyhound bus in Mexico, he met a professor who suggested he further his studies in America.

“I decided to do that and it was the best four years of my life. That’s where I started writing,” he said.

Paul later worked in academic publishing. It was not until he was in his late fifties that he began to harbour ideas for novels.

Having watched his mother suffer from dementia for ten years, Paul set out to write a novel that dealt with the struggle against Alzheimer’s and the controversial subject of assisted suicide in a wry, uplifting way.

The result was last Train to Coffeeville. The novel was among those selected for World Book Day in 2016.

Paul has also written The Last of the Bowmans and Larry and the Dog People.

Daisy is awash with memorable characters, from to Rod’s affable cleaning lady Nelly and her Peruvian handyman husband Edmundo - an expert in unblocking toilets - to henpecked husband Donald who loves grapefruit but is banned by his quarrelsome wife Lydia from having it in the house (he stores it at Rod’s).

And Rod himself, an able-bodied man who installed a chair lift at home and rides a mobility scooter to lessen the chance of injury.

“Daisy started life as a simple idea derived from a joke about an old man who readers believe is far younger,” says Paul. “I had him in mind as a character and then I watched an episode of Judge Judy and a defendant on there sparked the idea of him falling in love with someone appearing on the show.

“Rod secures the services of a detective agency which finds Daisy living in Huntington Beach, California. He travels there with Donald and that’s where the last two chapters of the book are set. He is definitely a bit naïve, but sets out with a goal in mind.”

The uplifting tale, which trips along, is written in the first person by Rod, guided by his friend Ric, who collects glasses in the local pub the Landsdowne. Ric has his own set of problems which iron out in the end.

Adds Paul: “I found the book fun to write. If you don’t enjoy what you are writing there is no point in doing it - but when you sit down to write you have to be in the right frame of mind.”

*Daisy by JP Henderson is published by No Exit Press and costs £8.99