Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Filey Connection - David W. Robinson

A cosy kind of crime mystery story, The Filey Connection tells of the intrepid investigations of amateur sleuth Joe Murray, and his two friends, Sheila and Brenda, and is set in Sanford, a small fictional West Yorkshire town. Joe is the long-time owner of 'The Lazy Luncheonette', a popular cafe in the town, frequented by the locals and by staff from several nearby businesses. Joe keeps a very tight rein on all matters business and financial. He is also the chair of the 'Sanford Third Age Club', which provides entertainment and outings for the town's many elderly, divorced, widowed or otherwise lonely inhabitants over 50 years old, and it has over 300 members. Sheila and Brenda, who work for Joe at the cafe, are also secretary and treasurer of the club, respectively. They are both cheerful ladies, both widowed. It's summertime, and the next outing coming up for members is a long weekend away in the east coast seaside town of Filey, and everyone is looking forward to this. Joe is also 'a renowned amateur detective', and has been for many years. 'Puzzles and mysteries had been a joy to him since his childhood.' Along the walls of his cafe sit the many booklets he has written and typed up detailing the various puzzles and crimes that he has cracked over the years, for customers to peruse whilst enjoying their meal. 

The novel starts off with a bang as a crime occurs in the prologue. The inhabitants of Sanford, and in particular the members of the 3rd Age Club, are shocked to hear that one of their number has been killed. Joe is immediately intrigued by the case, and starts to look for clues, taking the information the police have so far, which he has gathered from his niece, policewoman Gemma. He sees things that don't fit in how 'Knickers-off' Nicola, with a reputation for being rather loose with her affections, died. Meanwhile, a relative newcomer in town, Eddie Dobson, wants to join the trip to Filey at the last minute, and comes to see Joe about it. As the 3rd Age Club members descend on the Beachside Hotel, Filey, the mystery deepens, as another club member apparently loses their life. When DCI Terry Cummins, previously known to Joe, takes up the investigation, Joe confides in him all that he has learned so far and together they seek to wrap up the case.
Joe is a self-confessed 'shortarsed, crinkly-haired, bad-tempered old bugger', whose wife Alison left him 10 years ago. But he has built up a strong reputation in his hometown for the power and accuracy of his detective skills, '...before he was thirty, people from all over Sanford began to talk about this whizz-kid detective. Individuals and companies called him in to clear up mysteries and puzzles, and over the following decade, he established a reputation for the accuracy of his deductions.'

This is a gentle crime story, there is nothing exceptionally shocking or gruesome here, neither is the crime over complicated or incredibly intricate; rather it is a cosy mystery. There is plenty of banter between Joe, Sheila and Brenda as they mull over the happenings and try and unravel the clues and identify the guilty party. The writer has added some local dialect here and there amongst some of the Yorkshire folk but nothing that is difficult to comprehend. What is the Filey connection of the title? Well, the clues are there dotted in the story for the reader to spot. An easy to read, enjoyable murder mystery story with a clever but grumpy amateur detective. 
Thank you very much to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel to read and give an honest review.
Published on 2nd March 2012 by Crooked Cat Publishing and available as an e-book.
You can find out more about author David W. Robinson here and also visit his website here.

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