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Slight, light and easy reading
on 22 August 2008
Sited somewhere between a historical mystery and a ghost story, this has doctoral student Alice, an American in Kent, attempt to start research on the WW2 cover-up of a mysterious incident on Slapton Sands. Based on a true event, Cottam sets the story in 1976, the bi-centennial of America, but though the intention might have been something more profound on nationalism, nationhood, war etc. this, for me, was a fairly lightweight story, not unengaging, but not particularly deep either.
Alice is a fairly unlikeable character and her easy acceptance of ghosts (a few too many in a single novel perhaps), and the simplistic ways she solves the mystery including discovering a note from a key character that has been buried on the beach since 1944 is all very prosaic and pat. The insistent references to 1970s culture is very, very intrusive, and character delineation fairly shallow. And yet this has a certain interest that kept me reading, and has some spooky moments. A good holiday read in the sun.