The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh full marks, Mr Douglas-Home! A crime series which is new, original even, and on the literary side of the genre. It's a satisfying read and avoids many of the clichés common to crime novels. It's another crime series from Scotland which adds considerably to the mana of the Scottish crime genre.
Cal McGill is a PhD student in his late twenties. His doctorate is oceanography, specifically making a computer programme which will track the flotsam and jetsam of the North Atlantic. This fits nicely with his environmental, mildly eco-terrorist points of view. He can track oil slicks and fishing nets full of dolphins for environmental groups. He is interested in the feet in trainers which keep washing up on the beaches around Scotland.
The local police force is supposed to be solving this problem. Inspector Ryan is in charge and his detective constable is Helen Jamieson. He is a big bully, she is a shy, overweight intellectual. And we readers cheer at the end when she outwits him. The missing feet problem rapidly becomes something very nasty and it needs Cal's skills to sort it all out.
There's a moving subplot around Cal's grandfather and past family history but the book is beautifully knitted together so the subplot helps make for a very satisfying read. It also sets readers up with an understanding of Cal, as Helen's thoughts help readers see her as a rounded personality.
Good for readers waiting for the next book in the series.
You don't need to be a crime fan to enjoy this unusual book and it is well worth a read.
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