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Thursday 7 July 2016

‘Half a Pound of Tuppenny Rice’ by David Coubrough

Published by Peter Owen Publishers,
18 April 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-7206-1881-5

In 1972 when Grant Morrison was seventeen years old he and his family along with many other guests who met up every year, was staying in a hotel near St. Ives in Cornwall. One day their enjoyment was brought to an abrupt end when the hotel porter was found poisoned. A few days later the body of one of the guests was found washed up on the seashore. Were they accidental deaths or was a murderer at large? To add to the mystery the last words the porter uttered were “It was him” “Him from the hotel”. Five of the guests were thought to have motives for the porter's poisoning but no one was ever charged and the police dropped both the cases. Grant had always been troubled by the deaths, especially as he knew his mother was having an affair with one of the suspects and even provided him with an alibi.

Forty years later he decides he has had enough and needs to find some answers, even if it’s just to make sure his mother had nothing to do with it.

However, someone is obviously trying to put him off as when he goes to Cornwall to try and solve the mysteries, he feels he is being followed and experiences some frightening episodes at the hotel where he is staying. Plus, why does he keep hearing someone singing “Half a Pound of Tuppeny Rice”?

He meets up with friends, also teenagers in 1972, all of whom stayed at the same hotel, and together with their help, solves the long outstanding mysteries.

This was a good observation of human nature and makes for interesting reading. It was great to have just ordinary people from everyday life looking into the suspicious deaths and it I found it easy to put myself in their shoes.

The Cornish landscape was really brought to life and made me want to go back there .
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

David Coubrough founded the specialist hospitality company Portfolio Recruitment in the 1980s and twice sold it to public companies, on the second occasion becoming Chief Executive of the PLC. He is on the Board of Governors of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and is a past Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and the Castle Hotel at Taunton. He is a Director of Maldon Sea Salt and is on the Board of Bloomsbury Properties. He co-owns the Beehive pub and Restaurant in Berkshire and is now immersed in writing his second novel.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf  (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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