A Discovering Diamonds Review of Courting Danger by J G Harlond
1943 / WWII
England / Cornwall
(A Bob Robbins Home Front Mystery #3)
© Jack Holt
"Cornwall 1943: Dumpy, grumpy wartime Detective Sergeant Bob Robbins is called out to investigate a suspicious death in a moorland pool. The victim, Dr Corin Lanyon, was liked by all and loved by many - especially women. Bob rules out suicide and starts to investigate the doctor’s connections to a Celtic heritage group. Meanwhile, the doctor’s eccentric Aunt Hilda moves into his family home with a very specific agenda. Hilda appears quite mad, is she also evil? With the help of the keen young PC Laurie Oliver, Bob reveals a network of deceit and stolen museum treasures. Then another body is found in an ancient stone circle. Is this linked to Dr Lanyon? Could one of the American GIs in the neighbourhood be to blame? To track down the killer, or killers, Bob and Laurie first have to find out how the crimes were committed – starting with another visit to the bleak moorland pool and the discovery of dubious practices in a sacred cave in a hollow hill."
I enjoyed this. Bob Robbins is an affable, likeable character, despite his occasional grumpy moods – although maybe he is likeable because of them? His disgruntlement is because he wants to retire, to enjoy his hobby of birdwatching and a quiet life, but police business gets in the way. It is wartime, after all, and most of the young, capable policemen have gone off to war, leaving the older guys to keep a close eye on the working of the law – and investigating what at first glance seems at best an accident, if not suicide, but soon turns out to be something far more sinister.
Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds
Bob’s sidekick PC Laurie Oliver, is also a likeable young man – I laughed out loud when poor old Bob was clinging for dear life onto the pillion of Laurie’s motorbike. He had my every sympathy!
Other characters all come over as possible suspects, so there are some good red herrings to bamboozle the reader – and our Bob.
My only comment would be that although there were several references to the war (the consequences of a bombing raid, for instance,) and the occasional glimpses of what was going on elsewhere, I didn’t convincingly feel that we were there in 1943. I will be honest and say I don’t know why: perhaps because the characters seemed to be going about their everyday lives in a normal way? Although, possibly, Cornwall was not that affected by the trials and tribulations of bombs, rationing and hardship?
Nevertheless, Courting Danger is an entertaining read, very well written and definitely enjoyable.
© Jack Holt