If you haven’t seen any Nazis on the streets of Dunstable recently, it’s entirely down to the tireless efforts of retired policeman Alan Stoob.
He’s also the hero of a new comic novel, much of which is set in the town, that could see Stoob become as famous as awkward old characters like Victor Meldrew and Mr Micawber.
And his creator, Saul Wordsworth, is hopeful that the book, Alan Stoob – Nazi Hunter, will be turned into a Hollywood film.
Saul told the Gazette: “In the book, Stoob is a resident of Dunstable and a former policeman with the Luton Constabulary. The premise is that hoards of elderly former Nazis have travelled from Bremen to Biggleswade via underground tunnels and set up home throughout Bedfordshire – the new Paraguay.
“Much of the action takes place in the Dunstable area since this is where Stoob lives, including major scenes at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital and Luton Hoo.
“The area is depicted warmly and all local villages are cited. I would imagine this might be the first novel to be set in Dunstable or to have Bedfordshire as its epicentre.”
Stoob worries about his piles, suspects his wife of an affair with the late Henry Cooper and is outraged when people wastefully use A4 sheets to photocopy A5 documents.
Then world famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal invites him to take on the responsibility of tracking down Nazis hiding out in Bedfordshire. Stoob agrees and wherever he looks he sees evidence of a Nazi conspiracy. The trail leads him to the Prime Minister and the President of the United States.
In the build-up to the book’s publication, Stoob has gained a following of more than 10,000 on social media website Twitter. His celebrity fanbase includes Dara O’Brien, Sarah Millican and Al Murray.
Saul, 42, who lives at Harpenden, said: “I chose Luton/Dunstable as the location for my first novel as I know the area well and used to travel regularly to Kenilworth Road to watch Luton Town play when I was growing up.”
The rights to the novel have been bought by the production company owned by a well-known Hollywood director.
“If the book is turned into a film perhaps Dunstable will become synonymous with Notting Hill,” added Saul, who is donating 10 per cent of his royalties to the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation.
Broadcaster Emma Freud said: “I am supremely fond of Alan Stoob and this is without doubt the greatest novel so far by the funniest elderly Nazi hunter from Dunstable I have ever met.”
> Alan Stoob – Nazi Hunter is published by Coronet, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton, in hardback on October 9, priced £12.99.
> Follow Alan Stoob on Twitter @NaziHunterAlan or visit www.nazihunteralan.com