‘Welcome to Temple Regis, Devon.
Where Miss Judy Dimont reports on church fetes, council arguments and murder in….
The Riviera Express.’
The Riviera Express is the first in a new series set in Devon, featuring Miss Judy Dimont, a welcome new addition to the world of sleuthing. Published on 23rd February 2017 by HQ Stories, an imprint of Harper Collins, I would recommend this book for all fans of Murder She Wrote or Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple…
Please read on for my full thoughts…
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 the small town into disarray.
Not least Miss Judy Dimont –corkscrewed hair reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express. Investigating Gerald’s death, she’s quickly called to the scene of a second murder – setting off on her trusty moped, Herbert, she 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? And what is the connection between him and Arthur? And just how will she get the answers she wants whilst under the watchful and mocking eyes of her infamously cantankerous Editor, Rudyard Rhys?
The Riviera Express is a novel that requires a nice cup of tea and a digestive biscuit in hand, as you settle into life, post-war in a small town in Devon.
Miss Judy Dimont, a journalist with The Riviera Express, is a character that the reader can visualise from the opening page
‘Her corkscrew hair fell out of it’s makeshift pinnings, her glasses slipped down the convex nose, those self-same lips pinched themselves into a tight little knot and a general air of mild chaos and discount emanated like puffs of smoke from her desk.’
For anyone who has seen Murder She wrote, the character Jessica Fletcher comes to mind immediately.
Temple Regis, a town where pretty much nothing happens, is awaiting the arrival of a film star. Adored by many, Gerald Hennessey, is due to arrive on the 4.30 train from London. For Miss Judy Dimont, this is a story worth getting excited about. Bored with the daily tribulations of small town politics, a movie star will make headline news.
But Miss Dimont is not prepared for what happens next. Gerald Hennessey never makes it alive to Temple Regis, as he is found dead in a carriage of the train.
Reeling from the shock, Temple Regis is again thrown into disarray, when a second body is found at the bottom of a cliff within hours. It is that of ‘the repulsive Arthur Shrimsley, an out-to-grass former Fleet street type.‘
Both deaths are treated separately by the local constabulary but Miss Dimont is not happy and suspects there is some connection.
The reader is taken on a wonderful journey with every sort of character you would expect from a book of this genre.
Rudyard Rhys, the editor of the paper, is always looking for fault with Miss Dimont and continuously questions her motives and actions. Betty Featherstone, journalist and rival to Miss Judy Dimont, is younger and constantly trying to get one up on her colleague, in a rather conniving, yet ditzy manner. Then there is Athene Madrigale, horoscopes writer/astrologist with the paper, who floats around diagnosing auras and is rarely seen in daylight…quite the character!!
And of course let’s not forget Prudence Aubrey, wife of a now dead film star. She herself an aging star of the screen who sees her career collapsing at her feet.
And the list goes on…
Quirky personalities drip off the pages as Miss Dimont searches for clues among the unsuspecting public for a murderer.
The Riviera Express is a comfortable read. It has many of the qualities one would expect from such a novel.
Having read this first book in the series, I can already see it being a success on the small screen. All these characters could so easily be brought alive with Miss Judy Dimont’s reliable ‘Herbert’ whizzing her around the streets of Temple Regis, as she continues to uncover the secrets hidden on this small part of the Devonshire coast.
Purchase Link : The Riviera Express
Meet the author:
TP Fielden is a biographer, broadcaster and journalist.
The Riviera Express is the first in the English Riviera Murders series featuring Miss Dimont
Mr Fielden says:
“These books are my love-letter to Devon, describing all its joys and foibles, its unmatched beauty, and its unusual and wonderful mix of people. Oh, and there’s a body or two as well.” (and image courtesy of http://www.ilovesouthdevon.co.uk)