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Novelisation of the Hit TV Series
on 26 September 2014
BROADCHURCH is a novelisation of the recent international hit British television series of the same name, a British mystery/police procedural. The novel was penned by Erin Kelly, a freelance journalist of ten years’ experience, who has also published THE PASSION TREE, THE SICK ROSE, THE BURNING AIR and THE TIES THAT BIND. She is also a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Psychologies, Red, and Look, and has further written for Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour. The 2013 detective series BROADCHURCH was created by Chris Chibnall, an English TV producer, playwright and screenwriter who, until the present, was best known for his work on the science-fiction series DOCTOR WHO and its spin-off TORCHWOOD.
The book, like the television production is set in the pretty, sleepy-out-of-season British seaside town of Broadchurch. Only it’s now the summer season in the small resort. Local detective Ellie Miller has just returned from a Florida vacation, only to learn that she’s been passed over for a promotion she expected at work in favor of outsider Alec Hardy. Hardy, who is gravely ill and troubled, endured a spectacular, widely-publicized failure in his last major case. He will have trouble finding his way in this tight-knit small out of the way community. However, professional rivalry aside, the detectives will receive some very bad news: 11-year-old Danny Latimer has been found murdered on the beach.
It's a personal blow to Ellie; Danny was her older son Tom’s best friend. Furthermore, she’s never really had to function as a detective in Broadchurch, and she can’t believe anyone would harm the Latimer boy. But Alec considers everyone, even Danny’s parents, suspects in his death. The two flawed detectives pursue the case at length. Everyone involved is strained and stressed to the utmost, even before the press arrives and starts digging up the townsfolk’s secrets.
The TV treatment was widely praised, as “a gripping portrait of small-town paranoia,” and “riveting, raw, heartbreaking, funny and very, very smart.” It succeeded in painting an evocative picture of its setting and detailed portraits of its major characters while a taut, solidly-carpentered plot ticked away. And, like many other viewers, in this house, we sat glued to every episode.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like the novelisation as much. I believe women are known to be the biggest readers of mysteries. And we have here a novel written by a woman for a presumed largely female readership. We get many, many pages on how devastated Danny’s mother Beth, and detective Ellie, are. I can believe that both women are distraught: there is surely nothing worse for a mother than losing a child, and when that child has been murdered… But the emotional state of these two major female characters is not properly grounds for a mystery; the lengthy telling of it serves to impede the action, and is surely responsible for the book’s too long 400+ pages. Some editing, please.