As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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HarperCollins, 23 February 2016. ISBN: 978-0-00-819368-3(HB). 978-0-00819-371-3
Picture the scene: an idyllic Devon seaside town in the 1950s. The most
unpleasant thing that ever happens there is a bit of a rumpus on the front
between rival Teddy Boys. A train brings visitors from Exeter every summer
morning, and the front page headline in the local weekly paper is usually
something like QUARREL OVER TEA-TIME CAKES AT MOTHERS’ UNION.
Until, one fateful morning,
the paper’s faithful chief reporter, Miss Judy Dimont, meets the train, (both
paper and train are called the Riviera Express, by the way), and – shock!
there’s a body on board, and it belongs to one of the country’s most famous and
adored film stars.
As is often the case in
idyllic Devon towns, at least the fictional ones, the local plods are more
interested in a quiet life than solving crime. However, Miss Dimont
(affectionately known by her colleagues as Miss Dim but in fact nothing could be
further from the truth) has a past – more accurately, a Past – which equips and
encourages her to go ferreting around. She unearths a murder which, at first,
no one else believes in. There’s a second body too: a thoroughly disliked
freelance writer, found at the bottom of a crumbling cliff. So that’s two
potential murders – and Miss Dim’s little grey cells are suddenly in overdrive.
The result is a delicious
pastiche of a Golden Age crime novel, peopled with glamorous members of the
film world, small-town sophisticates, a motley crew of newspaper staff, wooden
policemen and the occasional Bad Lot. As Detective Inspector Topham lurches
from one misjudgement to the next, Miss Dim wends her way through a trail of
red herrings and misplaced clues with an unerring nose for the truth, which, of
course she eventually reveals with a flourish just in time for the front-page
splash. All despite the best efforts of her editor, whose usual form of
communication is a grunt, and her younger, flightier colleague Betty, who
regards the front page as her personal territory.
The Riviera Express is a gentle and wittily devised parody with larger
than life characters, animpossibly
pretty backdrop and a jaunty writing style which all come together to reflect
the author’s affection for the Golden Age as well as a close acquaintance with
its foibles and clichés. True Golden Age devotees may feel it goes a little too
far, but even they may have to admit it’s very well done.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
TP Fielden is a leading author,
broadcaster and journalist. This is the first novel in the Miss Dimont Mystery
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.