Nightshifts are well underway here, so hopefully I’ll be asleep when this publishes. I say hopefully, if day one is anything to go by I’ll have been woken up half a dozen times by assorted phone calls, tradesmen and delivery people. Anyway, as I said last week, I’ve been looking for a new cozy crime series. And as you know, I’m always looking for new historical crime series. So this week’s BotW is a new historical crime novel from the cozier end of the spectrum which I’m hoping is going to be the start of series.
The Riviera Express is the first book from TP Fielden* about Judy Dimont, a newspaper reporter in a south-coast seaside town in the 1950s. Miss D has a nose for a scoop, an editor who doesn’t always appreciate her and a rivalry with the paper’s other lady reporter. The Riveira Express is both the name of the paper and the name of the train which brings holiday-makers to the resort of Temple Regis and one of Miss Dimont’s regular jobs is meeting the train if it’s got a celebrity on board. But when she and her photographer arrive to meet film star Gerald Hennessey, they find him dead in his first class compartment. Called away from the scene to a second death, Judy becomes convinced that there is a link between the two – even though the police aren’t convinced that either is the result of foul play. Soon she’s investigating the links between the film star and the seaside town as well as between the two men and dealing with a couple of highly strung actresses who are mourning the dead star. Will Judy find out the truth – and if she does will her editor let her publish it?
I hope that sounds like fun, because this book is a lovely romp through an English seaside town with pretensions of grandeur led by a charming character in Judy Dimont. One of the toughest things to do in stories like this is create a leading character with an excuse to go poking about in murders and mysteries – and a reporter is an ideal one. Judy has a perfect excuse to nose around and to get information from the police and the authorities. It also means that she is going to keep coming across bodies in a more natural way than a private citizen would. And it makes a change from private detectives of all shapes and sizes well. The secondary characters are well drawn and there’s plenty of potential here for on-going plot strands without it feeling like there’s lots of set up being done. I’m looking forward to finding out more about Miss D’s past in the next book.
Here’s the rub – The Riviera Express isn’t actually out for another 9 days yet – but you can pre-order the hardback from Amazon or Waterstones and hope it turns up on the day or on Kindle or Kobo and it’ll download itself on the 23rd as a lovely treat.
*I would love to know who TP Fielden is – this doesn’t feel like a first novel and there’s very little information that I can find on TP, but their Goodreads biography says that they are a “leading author, broadcaster and journalist” so it feels like a pen name – and I’d love to know who is behind it!