A GOLDEN pyramid worth more than £10,000 awaits one lucky reader of the latest work of Christchurch author Murray Bailey.

Geo A Payne & Sons, one of Bournemouth’s oldest jewellers, was commissioned by the author, who is offering the one-of-a-kind item as a prize to the first person who can solve the puzzle embedded within his latest thriller.

The pyramid is crafted from 18ct gold, with an 8cm square base, engraved with hieroglyphics.

Map of the Dead, a gripping and fast-paced historical thriller, joins the growing genre of armchair treasure hunt novels, arguably created in 1979 by Kit Williams who concealed clues to the location of a jewelled golden hare within the pages of his picture book, Masquerade.

Mr Bailey has hidden the clues within the novel and a website, mapofthedead.co.uk, brings the treasure hunt right up to date, with potential treasure hunters needing to register to solve each of the 4 puzzle layers, and to receive additional clues as to the treasures’ location.

Mr Bailey spent much of his childhood enjoying holidays in Bournemouth, and has a degree from Southampton University, as well as post graduate studies from Cambridge University in Applied Mathematics.

He is an international consultant and lecturer in risk and statistical models, and has written and edited several industry standard textbooks.

He started writing fiction several years ago, and Map of the Dead is his first thriller to include his love of Egyptology.

He moved to Christchurch several years ago to be able to give more focus to his writing, where he now lives with his wife and young family.

Despite his mathematical background, Murray said, "You don't need a degree to solve the puzzle. It’s not immediately obvious but once you realise where the clues are, it's easy to spot."

Anthony Payne, of Payne & Sons, valued the pyramid at more than £10,000 and with the price of gold yet to reach the dizzying heights seen in 2011, by the time the puzzle is solved and the pyramid found, its value could be much higher.

Map of the Dead is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. It can also be ordered from any major book store.