I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour for the third book in the Death in Paradise series which sees this somewhat buttoned up, yet brilliant detective solve murders on the island of Saint-Marie. This gorgeous Caribbean setting has an unsettling amount of murders all of which can only be solved using lateral thinking. Yes the influence of Agatha Christie’s style of mystery novels looms large and equally as devilish.
This murder investigation is kicked off when a distressed young woman presents herself at the small police station about a prowler at the historic Beaumont coffee plantation where she lives with her parents and two brothers. The team immediately go off to investigate – or some of them do as the imposing Commander whose interests lie far more in line with the PR aspect of policing, than in detection wants whoever is selling boot-leg rum on the island apprehended immediately.
Up at the plantation DI Richard Poole and his worthy side-kick Camille are speaking to the worried Lucy Beaumont about the stalker when they hear two gun-shots. Inside the locked shower room is a body of an unidentified man. There’s no fooling DI Poole who quickly realises this is a murder and not suicide but who would have the audacity to kill a man when the police are nearby? And how did he escape from that locked room?
What follows is an old-fashioned tale with a minimal number of suspects and a fiendishly difficult puzzle to solve with plenty of red-herrings thrown into the mix. And then Death knocks again and another body is discovered in equally baffling circumstances! With no-one being quite what they seem and it quickly becoming clear that the coffee plantation, built up with the use of slaves, is not as prosperous as the family’s standing in the community might suggest DI Poole along with Camille, Fidel and Dwayne use age-old techniques to get to the bottom of the mystery. One of the things that I find really appealing about this series is the need to rely on old-fashioned police work due to the remoteness of Saint-Marie so we have DI Poole reading old FBI books to work out how to read writing on burnt paper and dusting the safe to find fingerprints in order to discover who opened it. DI Poole’s refusal to relax his standards and remove his wool suit in exchange for more suitable clothes for the Caribbean weather, well apart from the time he dons a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, complete with lace up black shoes, to go undercover and the mention of Eton really adds to the feeling that the modern world hasn’t truly reached the little island.
As is traditional the ending sees the suspects gathered together for the big reveal and although I’d worked out some parts, there were still aspects that I simply hadn’t worked out beforehand.
Robert Thorogood provided the scripts for the first five episodes for the BBC TV series Death in Paradise which is firm winter favourite viewing for me, and this original story featuring the original cast was an absolute delight to read.
I’d like to thank Midas PR and the publishers HQ for providing me with an ARC prior to publication on 27 July 2017 and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.