A heroine who owns a spaniel and a murder mystery in one of the prettiest parts of Britain – what’s not to like? In my case, quite a bit. Our heroine is apparently Thea Osborne, owner of Hepzie the spaniel, but through the entire course of the book, we don’t learn a single thing she’s thinking. The real main character of the book is her partner Detective Superintendent Phil Collis, who shares his thoughts and point of view with the reader.
The book is written in the third person, but it’s Phil and not Thea that I sympathise with. In fact, half way through the book I didn’t like Thea very much at all. Phil has managed to slip a disc in his back and Thea, who supposedly loves him, is less than sympathetic and quite heartless about it. The poor bloke’s in agony and she seems to treat him and his recalcitrant back as a nuisance. Not that you’d know for sure, for not once in this book are you privy to Thea’s thoughts.
There’s a good cast of supporting characters, some country-lane twists and turns in the plot, the writing itself is well-edited if unexceptional, but I’m left feeling that the main characters are not quite three-dimensional. There’s nothing here that wants to make me read the entire series (unlike, say, Reginald Hill’s Dalziel & Pascoe series where the main protagonists are so well drawn you expect to see them walking down the street).
For me, three out of five. One of those stars is for Hepzie the spaniel.