The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Simon Brett who won this year’s CWA Diamond Dagger for his contribution to the Crime writing genre is known for his mysteries which is surely defined as “Cozy mysteries” in todays standard, but would have been dubbed simply as “Mysteries” in the years gone by. Among his numerous series’ this one features two middle aged woman in the village of Fethering. Carole Seddon and Jude (just Jude) are neighbours. Carole being a woman with a stiff upper lip and Jude being the proverbial Happy-Go-Lucky. Carle discovers a dead body while taking her morning walk along the beach with her dog, Gulliver. As a dutiful citizen she calls up the police and reports the body, but the police arrives questions her only to inform her that they found no body on the scene. Following this event, Carole gets threatened by a woman with a gun, and another body, that of a child is discovered the next day. Carole confides in her neighbour, and together the two women starts digging within the upper-class Fethering society for the truth.
The book is almost entirely devoid of gore or bloodshed, which was pretty fine by me, as I don’t like useless gore and blood which has no need whatsoever for the plot to move further. But, what the book had in the true Golden age Crime fiction style was the pre3sence of a tight plot which propels the book forward. This being a straight forward crime novel, all reference to “psychology” and other deeper matters were not touched, which was again fine by me, and as a result we get to know very little about the characters including the protagonists, which suited the plot fine. And as it is a style of Simon Brett to keep his protagonists shrouded in somewhat mystery, this book was no different. Like Mrs Pargeter, one of his other protagonists, we hardly get to know much about Jude, not even her surname. She is shrouded in mystery but comes around as a woman who loves her life, and also brings in a sort of freshness to the somewhat boring life of her co-protagonist Carole Seddon, who unlike Jude is given a thorough background.
A definitely enjoyable read. Though a bit slow, but this book will be enjoyed by anybody who is looking for a light read between reading “HEAVY” novels.
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