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Sunday, 12 January 2014
‘Undercurrent’ by Pauline Rowson
The title accurately suggests the sea and the Portsmouth setting is a vital part of this tale. The initial death investigated by Detective Inspector Horton is that of a naval historian who has apparently fallen into a dry dock at Portsmouth’s Historic dockyard. Horton is an established character in Pauline Rowson’s books who has the usual sort of problems for a fictional detective - he is divorced and living alone on his boat. He has a very interesting background beyond that though - his mother disappeared when he was a child and he wants to discover what happened to her. He intersperses his work on the historian’s death with his personal investigations. This is not easy as the body count mounts! His superiors are so ready to settle for simple explanations for deaths that he suspects that they have been instructed by some higher authority to wrap investigations up quickly and quietly.
The story moves at a brisk pace while allowing plenty of discussion of motives and questioning of witnesses. The acrimonious relationship between Horton and his boss add to his burdens; he also functions at a level of extreme tiredness throughout most events. This is a complex story reaching into the past for explanations. While a conclusion about the perpetrator is reached, more complex questions still need answers as the book ends.
Jennifer S. Palmer
The series of DI Andy Horton crime stories began with Tide of Death; Undercurrent (the 9th book) was published this year and a tenth adventure has just been published. Pauline Rowson has also written 2 stand-alone thrillers .
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer
Pauline Rowson was born and raised in Portsmouth. Pauline draws her inspiration for her crime novels from the area in which she lives, which is diverse and never without incident. When she isn't writing (which isn't often) she can be found walking the coastal paths on the Isle of Wight and around Langstone and Chichester Harbours. Married to a former fire fighter Pauline knows all about the pressures experienced by the emergency services. She understands the culture and the black humour used as a means of coping with the traumatic situations officers experience, and draws on this knowledge in her writing. The pressures of the job, the shared dangers and the stress all combine to give those in the police and fire service one of the highest rates of divorce. It's no wonder then that DI Andy Horton is no exception. He comes with personal emotional baggage and an ex wife but with an overriding desire, like many in the police and allied emergency services, to serve the community in which he lives and see that justice is done. Pauline is the founder of CSI Portsmouth an annual event part of Portsmouth Bookfest and a member of the Crime Writers' Association and the Society of Authors.
Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.