2 November 2017.
ISBN 978-0-008-19373-7 (HB).
“Pale aquamarine and milky like the waters of Venice, the sea moved slowly inland.” So, begins our stay in the idyllic seaside resort. This is the second adventure of Riviera Express journalist Judy Dimont. She lives in Temple Regis in Devon and enjoys her work on a small local paper. Her journalistic instincts are highly honed, and she is interested in any mysteries that come her way. The small-town nature of Temple Regis is beautifully described as are the minor yet culturally significant events in the newspaper. The attitudes are of the era - the book is set in 1959 - particularly in their sexist views. Judy has a fascinating past in secret work in WW2 which informs her actions; her connections to that world include the editor of the paper and a female friend. Judy is in her forties with a lively attitude and a smile that can attract many.
The introductory paragraph on the beach at Temple Regis is followed quickly by the discovery of a body on that beach. It is that of an attractive young blonde woman and it provides the first mystery for the police. A second untimely death of a rich old entrepreneur with a very dodgy business occurs in the town so Judy and the young reporter, Valentine Waterford, investigate the possibilities that the deaths are connected. Judy spends a lot of time in this book introducing the cub reporter to the arcane mysteries of small town reporting. She and Valentine unearth interesting stories of unusual people in the course of their investigations. These cases seem to be intractable for the police so the reporters’ efforts should be welcome! I found the book an enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer