Welcome to the nbmagazine.co.uk stop on the blog tour for Died and Gone to Devon by T.P. Fielden!
Here’s a little info about the book:
Temple Regis, 1959: Devon’s prettiest seaside resort is thrown into turmoil by the discovery of a body abandoned in the lighthouse.
It’s only weeks since another body was found in the library – and for the Riviera Express’s ace reporter-turned-sleuth Judy Dimont, there’s an added complication. Her friend Geraldine Phipps is begging her to re-investigate a mysterious death from many years before.
What’s more, Judy’s position as chief reporter is under threat when her editor takes on hot-shot journalist David Renishaw, whose work is just too good to be true.
Life is busier than ever for Devon’s most famous detective. Can Judy solve the two mysteries – and protect her position as Temple Regis’s best reporter – before the murderer strikes again?
And about author T.P. Fielden:
T.P. Fielden is a leading author, broadcaster and journalist.
And here’s Erin Britton’s review of Died and Gone to Devon:
Christmas is on its way and, while the staff of the Riviera Express newspaper might initially just be looking forward to the fact that there’s no paper published that week, it soon becomes clear that the festive season will be another hectic one for the residents of Temple Regis, still arguably the most attractive town on the English Riviera. In fact, the winter of 1959 looks likely to provide further evidence that Temple Regis is the “Murder Capital of England”, much to Inspector Topham’s chagrin.
First, Miss Greenway, one of the local librarians, is found dead, seemingly having fallen from the top of a ladder while shelving. The local police believe it to be an accident, but it’s certainly a strange one – Miss Greenway was well known for her fear of heights and so she always made the tea rather than doing the high shelving. It’s exactly the kind of odd incident that would normally attract the attention of Judy Dimont, former British intelligence officer turned chief reporter of the Riviera Express turned keen and incredibly successful amateur sleuth. However, this time round, Miss Dimont is distracted by the impending arrival of her mother, who is coming to spend Christmas in Temple Regis in an effort to persuade Judy to move back to the family home in Essex, and so she gives the incident only a cursory write-up.
Yet, just a few weeks later, Mirabel Clifford, the new Conservative candidate following the retirement of long-term and generally disliked MP Sir Freddy Hungerford, is found murdered at the top of the Temple Regis lighthouse. Miss Dimont had had some dealings with Mirabel Clifford and considered her to be a good politician (as far as politicians go), so she determines to solve the murder. It certainly helps that her mother has now gone home, but Miss Dimont doesn’t exactly have a surfeit of spare time. She’s also promised her friend Geraldine Phipps that she will look into the death, some 25 years earlier, of society girl Pansy Westerham. Plus, a new reporter, David Renishaw, fresh from Fleet Street, has started at the Riviera Express and Miss Dimont is going to have to watch her back if she is to remain the paper’s star reporter.
Died and Gone to Devon is the fourth of T.P. Fielden’s Miss Dimont mysteries, but like the other books in the series, it could really be read as a standalone story. However, Miss Dimont isn’t quite herself in this book; she’s preoccupied with her own affairs and so isn’t exactly on the ball when it comes to all the murder and intrigue going on around her. For this reason, readers will get a better introduction to her character and her mystery solving skills if they do start with the earlier novels. Still, after a slow start, she does get cracking with the investigation in the end and is once again able to prove that she is a better detective/reporter than anyone Scotland Yard/Fleet Street has to offer.
It’s actually not only Miss Dimont who seems to be having a bit of down time in Died and Gone to Devon, as the local gossip machine doesn’t seem to be functioning to its normal standard either. As previous books have shown, Miss Dimont knows all the local characters and so hears all the gossip that Temple Regis has to offer, but her regular informants seem to be rather reticent during the events of this book. Luckily, most of them do crop up in the end, some with vital information to offer, which is good because, in addition to helping solve the murders, the oddness of the local community and its resemblance to the closed-circle communities featured in so many books from the golden age of mystery is one of the most appealing characteristics of the Miss Dimont series.
Another key characteristic of the series is the humour and Died and Gone to Devon features plenty of that. The cameo by Fanny Craddock, visiting Temple Regis to officially open the town’s first launderette, is one of the funniest moments, but the staff of the Riviera Express and other local residents provide plenty of laughs too. Newcomer to the series Professor Sirraway and his one-man protest movement against Sir Freddy Hungerford represents a further humorous aspect to the story that may or may not have some relevance to the murders – it certainly leads to some added complications for Miss Dimont’s investigation.
With Died and Gone to Devon, T.P. Fielden has added another charming instalment to the Miss Dimont mysteries series. The story is populated by an impressive cast of eccentric (and, of course, potentially murderous) characters, and it features a good number to red herrings, which help to ensure that readers are kept guessing as Miss Dimont furthers her investigation. There are still plenty of secrets, jealousies and intrigues bubbling away beneath the apparently quiet surface of Temple Regis and it’s up to Miss Dimont and her fellow reporters to uncover the truth.
Erin Britton 4*
Died and Gone to Devon by T.P. Fielden
HQ 9780008243722 pbk Nov 2019