“ Paperback: 192 pages / Publisher: Severn House Paperbacks Ltd / Published: 26 May 2011 „
==Synopsis of the book:==
Naomi and Alec are in need of a break. Alec has been overdoing it and as a result he is considering leaving the Police force. It was while serving he met his wife Naomi when she was also a Police Officer. However, since being involved in an accident that robbed her of her sight she is no longer able to do the job she loved. Instead she continues to challenge herself in trying new activities that she would have taken for granted when she was able to see.
They select quite at random a village close to Glastonbury in Somerset. And with it being November they find a cosy bed and breakfast without too much trouble. While in the local pub 'The Lamb' the meet and befriend the eccentric Eddy Thame who spends all his time looking for treasure in the fields with his metal detector. They discover he is looking for treasure believed to be lost in the Monmouth rebellion of 1685. However a few days later they are advised Eddy has been found dead at his home and Alec agrees to help try and trace this lonely man's next of kin. Little does he or Naomi realise where this mystery will lead them.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
Overall I thought this was a good suspense mystery. Recently I have read several murder mysteries that have been far more complex and longer than this one so it made a nice change for me to read a less detailed but still well thought out story. In truth it was a very short story but it had all the elements required in an absorbing read and one I enjoyed without feeling I had to think too much about the plot or who had said or done what.
I have read several stories in this series featuring Naomi Blake. Although because of her blindness in the past few stories her husband Alec seems to play just as an important role as she does. I do however think this is a clever angle and I always like reading about her struggles to maintain an as near normal life as possible. This is the sixth of seven novels in the series and was written in 2010. For an English author who has already had 23 novels published.
Having read several very good and long books lately I was looking for a slightly lighter read this week. That is why I started to consider another in the Naomi Blake series. I usually enjoy these so when I saw this one I was immediately intrigued by the title. I am not a big fan of history so I wondered what the author had in mind with this title. On the inside cover I found a short but good summary of the story that persuaded me to buy it as I liked the idea of the couple going on a holiday and getting involved in a local mystery.
I would describe this Jane Adams series of stories as similar in style of the Hamish MacBeth stories written by M.C.Beaton. Clever stories that are not very long but well written and interesting. And while I enjoy these I do not feel they tax my brain and can be enjoyed for what they are. I would image these stories as being ideal for a holiday book. And just because a story is short does not mean the author has to scrimp on depth and background within the scenes because in my opinion Jane Adams never does in this series.
The story started quite appropriately with a page and a half of a prologue. Probably too short in my opinion and only once I had completed the book did it make sense. It was purposely vague and because it gave so little way I was not particularly interested in it. Especially as when I started the first chapter it appeared to have no relevance to it and so I forgot about it until I managed to tie it in when I had almost finished the book.
However as soon as the first chapter began I started to relax and enjoy the book. It dealt with Naomi and Alec deciding where to go away for their winter holiday. I find these two a lovely couple and you can't not like Naomi especially as she is such a strong women who is not prepared to let the lose of her sight ruin her life. Added to which she has a wonderful guide dog Napoleon a black Labrador who always sounds adorable.
The story was very believable especially the way this couple met and got to know a little about local eccentric Eddy Thame. It was not as if they were immediately involved in a mystery they still explored and visited several local places before they found themselves drawn into the mystery of this man's death. I found the story very easy to get into and I liked the way it started to take shape with a few good concepts for the reader to consider.
The only thing that I personally found annoying was every so often the author would take us back to 1685 and Catherine Kirkwoods escape from the fighting her family were involved in. In her trip she was the one along with her servant who hid the gold her family had to stop it getting into the Kings hands. While this did fit in with the story and it had some relevance I found it added little to the story and frankly it bored me. The author to give her her due did telegraph it with italic print but it never interested me.
The story was very easy to read and I found in no time I was heading towards the conclusion. Yes I would have liked more mystery within the story as it was very obvious what the answers where quite early on. Had the story be written in a different way I feel sure this suspense could have been increased. As I kept thinking there would be a clever and unexpected twist that would turn everything on its head unfortunately this never happened. That said it was still an enjoyable story just lacked that killer twist.
For me the conclusion was probably the best feature of this book because it was faced paced, exciting and full of suspense. It was a good way to end the story and it left me feeling the book was a worthwhile read. And unlike a lot of endings to much longer and complex stories this one was a fair length that allowed the suspense to be maximised. Although the epilogue that followed it was disappointing as it was far too short and left one or two issues unresolved.
Naomi Blake is one of the two main characters in the story along with Alec her husband. And while I find him a little bland and if I'm honest dull, I find her quite the opposite. I think its because of her disability and the courage she always shows in overcoming obsticles. I think the author really gets into her head and explains her thoughts and feeling when dealing with a mystery. Added to that I like her common sense approach and the way she is always willing to help others and you have a wonderfully unique leading lady ( with a cute dog!)
It would be very easy being a experienced murder mystery reader for me to criticise this book, which I have to some degree!! But it is still a good and interesting story that while it is not very complicated or complex in plot terms it still has depth within it that is easy to enjoy. I always enjoy learning how Naomi is dealing with her lose of sight and the way she deals with all the fresh challenges in her new world.
My copy is a hardback version and upon investigation I was unable to find the book in paperback format, which makes it in my opinion an expensive book. Which might put readers off but a second hand version would be a better bet.
I found this a well written and enjoyable mystery and one I would recommend for those looking for a simple thriller that will not tax your brain too much. It is a wonderful series and I particularly find Naomi Blake an engaging and very different lead character and I love to hear about what she is involved in. This story while comparatively short have good depth to it but lack mystery which for me is the biggest drawback of it as it failed to make me think and wonder as I would have liked.
Price: 15.99 ( New at Amazon)
Publisher: Severn House
Year first published: 2011
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS April 2013