“The Riviera Express” by T.P.Fielden is the first in a series of Riviera Murder Mysteries, featuring Miss Judy Dimont.
Described by some reviewers as a “cosy” mystery novel, this has much more to offer than some books in this sub-genre. It is true that this murder mystery does not contain the blood and violence of many grittier novels, hence the “cosy” label, but “The Riviera Express” is full of intrigue.
When the train, known as the Riviera Express, arrives in Temple Regis, a beautiful seaside town in Devon, it is met by local journalist, Judy Dimont and news photographer, Terry Eagleton. They are there to meet the famous actor, Gerald Hennessy, who is due to arrive that afternoon. Against all expectations, there is to be no exclusive interview, as Mr Hennessy is found to be dead on arrival! Another death follows fast on the heels of this – that of Arthur Shrimsley, who is found dead at the bottom of the cliffs. It appears that these two deaths are not suspicious, but Judy Dimont soon comes to other conclusions after interviewing several people connected to the two deceased men. It also appears that there was a connection between the two men, which may cast doubt on the coroner’s verdicts of death from natural causes and accidental death.
As well as an intriguing plot, “The Riviera Express” also has some well- drawn characters, particularly the feisty main character, journalist Miss Judy Dimont. This is a woman with a past. We don’t know a great deal about her role in the War, but the many hints are enough for us to know that it was important and secret. Apparently, it was during the War that she gained experience of looking for clues in people’s actions and words, all of which enhanced her post-war role as a journalist for a provincial newspaper, The Riviera Express. This is certainly no cardboard cut-out character and I look forward to reading more of her exploits.
Another aspect of this novel that I enjoyed was the style in which it is written. Set in the late 1950s, the author has written in a way which evokes the era. The novel is rich in vocabulary not in common use – Miss Dimont thinks of the actor-manager of the local theatre as “the old poodlefaker”; the view from a hotel window is described :”….the sea beyond and the still effulgent clouds suspended above, allowed eventide to enter the room and bestow upon its furniture a special glow.” Later, travelling journalists are described as “crumpled journeyman scriveners”. These little gems, plus touches of humour, enhanced the reading of the book.
All in all, “The Riviera Express” was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me; I hadn’t expected to like it as much as I did, if I’m honest.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Published by Harlequin U.K.
Available from Amazon.co.uk:
Hardcover: The Riviera Express: £12.08
Kindle : The Riviera Express: £7.99
Audio: The Riviera Express: £11.37 or £7.99 with Audible Membership.
Also available from Amazon.com:
Hardcover:The Riviera Express: $9.76