Book Review -The Riviera Express by T.P. Fielden

Here’s the blurb;

“Murder on the Riviera Express

Gerald Hennessey – silver screen star and much-loved heart-throb – never quite makes it to Temple Regis, the quaint Devonshire seaside town on the English Riviera. Murdered on the 4.30 from Paddington, the loss of this great man throws Temple Regis’ community into disarray.

Not least Miss Judy Dimont –corkscrewed hair reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express. Investigating Gerald’s death, she’s quickly called to the scene of a second murder – setting off on her trusty moped, Herbert, she finds Arthur Shrimsley in an apparent suicide on the clifftops above the town beach.

Miss Dimont must prevail – for why was a man like Gerald coming to Temple Regis anyway? And what is the connection between him and Arthur? And just how will she get the answers she wants whilst under the watchful and mocking eyes of her infamously cantankerous Editor, Rudyard Rhys?”

I received a free E-Arc from Netgalley.

The Riviera Express is, quite simply, a very good read. The author does have a particular writing style which initially threw me and I worried that the novel would be a hard read, however, after only a few pages, I was used to the writing style, and while many might not appreciate the ‘wordiness’ the author choices to use, I found it fit very well with the novel.

The characters are nuanced and a little stereotypical, but then, that really is the point. It is Miss Dimont who is the star of the show and she receives the most back-story and is the least stereotyped, shortly followed by her fellow newspaper colleagues – the photographer, Terry, and her main rival/friend at the newspaper, Betty. The author also captures the essence of a 1950’s seaside town – the busy-bodies, the small mindedness, the general nosyness of everyone knowing everyone else’s business and the stresses and strains of keeping everyone happy within the small community that wants a localnewspaper but only if everyone is presented in their best light.

And yet into all this comes a little bit of glamour provided by one of the murder victims and his entourage. The author does a very good job of presenting the actors as actors – ensuring that their dramatic moments are always referenced to the film/play that they’ve stolen their lines from and juxtaposing the strange and magical world of actors to the more mundane events of life in a seaside town where the summer season has just ended.

The mystery that Miss Dimont finds herself unravelling, earns as much ‘spread’ as the development of the characters and the venue, which I’m sure will feature in more books in the future, and ends rather well with not so much a twist, as an unlooked for answer to all the questions.

Overall I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a historical novel with the added bonus of intrigue.

(I am a fan of historical who-dun-its be it Sherlock Holmes, Marple, Poirot, or my latest find – The Phryne Fisher books).

And you can buy the book from 23rd February from here:

Author: M J Porter, author

I'm a writer of historical fiction (Early England/Viking and the British Isles as a whole before 1066, as well as two 20th century mysteries).

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