Year Published (UK) – 2015
First Line – ”Ah, Sefton, my feckless friend,’ said Morely.’
Denouement – The beach
I bought this book on a whim, from a little independent book shop in Dartmouth, Devon. It seemed appropriate at the time and I’ve read Ian Sansom before and enjoyed his writing.
This book did not disappoint. A tongue-in-cheek nod to the golden age of crime fiction, Sefton and Morely make the perfect pair for this hapless duo, stumbling across murder, mystery and intrigue in the true style of the mystery genre.
The story takes place in Devon, of course, where Sefton, Morely and Miriam (Morely’s daughter) are visiting to write the second in Morley’s ‘County Guides.’ Sefton is Morely’s assistant as Hastings is to Poirot and Watson to Holmes. Miriam insists on tormenting Sefton and running around with the wrong sort of man, whilst her father postulates and pontificates on an eclectic mix of subjects, from arcane literature to surfing techniques.
With dry humour throughout, this book is intelligently written and entertaining to the last. My only criticism is it all seemed to come to an end very quickly. It felt like we stumbled upon the denouement rather than gather the clues to solve the case, perhaps because Morely and Sefton are not PIs and instead are there to research a book.
If you want a humorous, educational and character driven read from a contemporary author, in the style of the golden age, then the County Guides are for you. I’m going back to read the ‘Norfolk Mystery’ the first in the series and then ‘Westmorland Alone’ the next one. You can’t get a better recommendation than that!
Have you read any of Liam Sansom’s work? What did you think, I’d love to hear. Don’t forget to leave you comments below.