I’m incredibly grateful to have received this magnificent review in the Yorkshire Times. Thank you so much. That’s one to frame for the days when the plots won’t work and the characters won’t say much. Writers live for days like this so I’m going to cherish this one! Here’s the link.
And here’s the full review, which is brilliantly written by Paul Spalding-Mulcock. Thank you so much!
up her sleeve. The first is her ability to segue from farcical comedy and witty dialogue into almost poetically verdant descriptive prose: ‘There was little sleep to be had in the unearthly night. The bitter air spread through our limbs. Strange, disgruntled noises rose from the shadows and slipped across the darkness. I could hear the island’s siren voices arcing over the dunes and down towards the sea. I was hollowed by fear, the cold worming its way through my joints’.
The second ace to be played in the novel’s high stakes poker game is characterisation. Pandora, Ursula’s strident mother and the matriarchal doyen of the cohort she dominates is once again rendered with consummate skill. Saturnine and the epitome of procrustean intolerance, Pandora’s dogmatic, brassbound force leaves the pages and can be heard upbraiding the reader for the slightest misdeed they commit whilst savouring the story. Yet beneath her crustacean exterior beats the heart of a broken woman and a devoted, if over protective mother.
Whilst the delightfully deadly pantomime’s supporting cast are all drawn with aplomb, Bottlenose the boat’s captain stands out for special praise. Part alcoholic evil twin of Captain Birdseye, part Ancient Mariner sans the albatross and Christian allegory, he breathes his booze-drenched folkloric tales through the narrative with eccentric elan. His every utterance darkens the novel’s ambience lending it a benighted surrealism which hovers on the border between hysterically funny and ominously unsettling. Fittingly, Bottlenose is the novel’s atmospheric barometer only rivalled for the role by Dowd’s use of prosopopoeia to employ the island itself and the elements torturing it as an insidious force in its own right.
So, Body on the Island is a beguiling blast. I was entirely outwitted by Dowd who played me like a fiddle. I closed the book utterly satisfied, having been joyfully entertained. If you are looking for a murder mystery suffused with comedy, but dripping with maleficent intrigue, this one is likely to delight. Needless to say, there may be many things ‘Mother does not do’, but she does provide the basis for a damn fine read !
Body on the Island is published by Joffe Books