I have a confession to make. This is supposed to be an unbiased review of Resort to Murder but, with this author, I’m not capable of such a thing. I love TP Fielden’s work. He has a light touch, yes, but he hints at hidden depths, sometimes drawing them out, sometimes contenting himself with just showing you a tiny corner of his hem, rather than raising the petticoat any further. It’s delicious stuff.
TP Fielden’s first novel, The Riviera Express, was so exactly my cup of tea that it might as well have had my name on it. A strong sense of place, a feisty yet uncliched female amateur sleuth down in 1950s Devon, an intriguing mystery and a brilliant cast of characters, with even the most minor bit players made beautifully real. The whole thing had more ticks for me than a roomful of grandfather clocks.
But the second outing – well, I was a tiny bit worried. It’s hard to pull off such a great book once. Twice might be too much to ask. From the off, though, the reader has that wonderful sense that they are in safe hands. Relax and enjoy the ride, in the knowledge that no red herring will be left unfilleted by the time the final denouement is upon us. This time, the wonderful Miss Dimont, washed up as a reporter on the local paper in a seaside town but with a glamorous whispered backstory of a ‘difficult war’ as a spy, stumbles upon another promising corpse. Whether she’s knocking back the rum with the local fishermen (wonderful scenes that could almost make me believe, if I didn’t know him better, that TP Fielden had spent some years in a fishing smack himself) or coaching the latest mysterious new recruit to the paper in the arcane ways of local journalism, Miss D is a delight.
It’s grey and drizzly in London, so let me prescribe the perfect cure – a good dose of Resort to Murder. From the beautiful cover onwards you’ll be hooked. And the good news is that there’s a third serving of this lovely treat coming soon.