I am a huge fan of the TV series Death in Paradise so was thrilled when I was offered the first in a series of a three book deal the creator signed with MIRA books earlier this year. Having loved reading a totally new story featuring the English Detective Richard Poole on the Caribbean Island of Saint-Mare in A Meditation On Murder, I was delighted to be offered a copy of The Killing of Polly Carter to review.
In this story Richard Poole is summoned to the scene of an apparent suicide whilst simultaneously agitating the imminent arrival of his mother to the island. Richard soon determines that the famous model, Polly Carter, couldn’t possibly have committed suicide and sets about investigating her murder. With her twin sister Claire, the sister’s nurse, the agent and the writer all seem to have solid alibis for the time in question, indeed Claire was in the island at the time the model crashed over the cliff to her death seemingly blaming Claire for her death, the team are going to have to work hard!
There is a real feel of the more traditional mystery in these books, with very little focus concentrated on blood and gore or even up to date forensics (most of this has to be sent off island for analysis) so the detectives have to be ‘real detectives’ As always in both the TV series and the novels there are a whole shoal full of red-herrings and if that wasn’t enough the solving of some of the clues depends on the reader knowing some obscure facts but I personally award myself points for identifying which objects are likely to be critical. The relationships between the buttoned-up Richard Poole and the young vivacious Camille, the eager Fidel and the lazy but well-connected Dwayne are brilliantly portrayed with the odd one-liner painting the picture really effectively.
With the victim in this case a model of International fame and one who seems absolutely typical of the profession based on the clichés that we are frequently fed by the media, the reader can turn their attention to the solving of the puzzle – or puzzles as one piece of information often opens up a whole host of different questions. Sadly as is so often the case, I really thought I’d cracked this one fairly early on, I had a number of clues solved and a convincing theory to back it up, only for another pesky piece of information ruining everything for me. As is so often the case, I had to wait with the suspects as they gathered together at the end for Richard Poole to reveal the who, how and why to me.
Any lover of mystery novels could do far worse than to pick up one of these books, especially at this time of year, after all a murder in the Caribbean is far more appealing when the wind rain and ever-potential snow warnings are blaring out at us on an hourly basis.
The Killing of Polly Carter will be published on 3 December 2015 and I’m greatly honoured that Robert Thorogood, the author, has agreed to answer some of my questions about his writing tomorrow so please pop back and see what he has to say.