By day Mary Andrea Clarke holds down a responsible position in the Civil Service - but by night she is a crime fiction writer
In a picturesque and relaxing a Spanish village set against a weekend wine festival and major golf tournament, a savage double murder provides some incongruous distraction for Primavera Blackstone. With the nephew of her late ex-husband Oz, participating in the golf tournament, it is a distraction not entirely welcome. However, passing encounters with the two victims do give Primavera an interest.
Into this potentially relaxing scenario, Primavera’s closest friend Shirley introduces her new partner, Patterson Cowling. Despite his charm, Primavera is not entirely inclined to trust him and her protective instincts motivate her to learn more. This desire increases when a quiet dinner in a local restaurant is interrupted by an attempt to pick Patterson’s pocket, foiled by Primavera’s ten-year-old son, Tom. However, attempts to make discreet inquiries about Patterson see Primavera rapidly warned off by people of influence. The situation is further unsettled when the thief is found murdered.
Primavera is a very likeable character, warm towards her family and friends, opening her home to her nephew Jonathan Sinclair and his caddie Uche Wigwe. However, she shows the side of a aggressive tigress when she suspects a tabloid journalist of photographing her son. Neither is she discomposed by the sight of a corpse too damaged to be identified when her police friend Alex seeks any information she may have. While demonstrating a normal sense of revulsion and compassion, Primavera’s main concern is to protect Tom from the awful sight when his help is needed to identify the dead pickpocket.
Other characters are equally well drawn, ranging from the fun-loving Shirley and the golf pro Jonny through to police officer Alex and security services consultant Mark. It’s an interesting mix which demonstrates the contrasts in Primavera’s life.
The plot is intricate yet tightly focused, followed through with impeccable logic while remaining unpredictable. The tournament is also a treat for golf fans.
A well written and engaging novel.