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on 18 September 2007
This is the first in the Lydmouth series by this author.
It's trying to do something very different from the Roth books so I don't think comparisons work.
It is I think a very atmospheric evocation of the 1950s in a small town, with some local characters but focusing mainly on the newly arrived police inspector and a journalist from London. Both are outsiders. He is doing the police work, she is taking her own journalistic interest in the investigation so you get the two views of the case. Occasionally, they collide.
I liked the combination of the police procedural and the personal aspects of the story as they have equal importance.
Many of these characters will come back again in later stories and the series very skillfully builds up the picture of a small town with its rivalries, crooks, some big, some small, colourful characters. It's more than a crime novel (although I think it does that very well), it's also a subtle portrait of a community at a time of change. Fascinating.
Of course the fact that this is part of a series doesn't mean that this book doesn't have to stand on its own. I think it does. I went on to read the rest of the series in very short order (and enjoyed them all).