Murder on the Riviera Express Gerald Hennessey – silver screen star and much-loved heart-throb – never quite makes it to Temple Regis, the quaint Devonshire seaside town on the English Riviera. Murdered on the 4.30 from Paddington, the loss of this great man throws Temple Regis’ community into disarray. Not least Miss Judy Dimont -corkscrew-haired reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express. Investigating Gerald’s death, she’s soon called to the scene of a second murder, and, setting off on her trusty moped, Herbert, finds Arthur Shrimsley in an apparent suicide on the clifftops above the town beach. Miss Dimont must prevail – for why was a man like Gerald coming to Temple Regis anyway? What is the connection between him and Arthur? And just how will she get any answers whilst under the watchful and mocking eyes of her infamously cantankerous Editor, Rudyard Rhys?
This was such a nice, gentle read. There is nothing I like more than a spot of cosy crime and ‘The Riviera Express’ fitted that bill. Set in 1950’s this is perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons or sunny days in the garden. Settle down with a cup (or glass) of your favourite something and enjoy a trip to Temple Regis, Devon.
Meet Judy Dimont. Apple eating, spectacle wearing, scooter riding, inquisitive reporter for The Riviera Express. This amateur sleuth knows that something isn’t quite right with the deaths of visiting actor Gerald Hennessey and local man Arthur Shrimsley and she is determined to get the bottom of “the double-death sensation at Temple Regis”.
I loved TP Fielden’s style of writing, it’s reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of crime and and the descriptions of England’s Riviera were beautiful. I wanted to gaze out over the blue, sparkling sea for hours! There were also more than just a few lines that made me chuckle
“Word had got around that the show was better than a cup of Horlicks for insomniacs.”
There are some great characters that appear in ‘The Riviera Express’ as mentioned before there’s Miss Dimont, she has an inexplicable dislike for harsh court judge Mrs Marchbank who delivers the most outrageous sentences. There’s mysterious and colourful horoscope writer Athene, photographer Terry who seems to simply stumble onto clues and blonde bombshell lead reporter Betty who envys Judy’s journalistic talent. The characters just leap from the page and settle comfortably in your imagination.
The story is peppered with amusing tales from the magistrate court – Judy’s day to day reporting. There’s a woman claiming to be ten years younger than she is, public drunkenness, Teddy Boys rough housing on the beach and “insults to civic pride”. Life in Temple Regis is certainly never dull!
“Miss Dimont found… that court reporting was a bit like lying on a lumpy sofa with a box of chocolates – the seating was uncomfortable but the work largely enjoyable.”
This is the first in a series of books featuring Judy Dimont and Temple Regis and I am looking forward to the rest. Judy is an endearing and likeable character, and she makes a wonderful sleuth. And the mysterious references to what she did during the war make for her an intriguing lady. The perfect read for fans of Agatha Christie, M.C Beaton and The British Library Crime Classics.
BOOKISH CORNER RATING – 4/5 STARS
If you like ‘The Riviera Express’ then you should try:
‘Real Murders’ Charlaine Harris
‘The Secrets of Wishtide’ Kate Saunders
‘Calamity in Kent’ John Rowland
‘Evil Under the Sun’ Agatha Christie
TP Fielden is a leading author, broadcaster and journalist. He is the creator of the inimitable Temple Regis, the quaint seaside town that is home to reporter turned sleuth Miss Judy Dimont. The Riviera Express, the first novel in the Miss Dimont Mystery series.
The Riviera Express is out on the 9th March in hardback by HQ Stories. With thanks to the team at Harper Insider for my copy.