I’ve been walking past Janie Bolitho’s books in the library for a while now. And I’ve always meant to give them a try, but they never quite made it to the front of the queue. Finally, when I started my Read Cornwall campaign I decided that I had to read a proper Cornish mystery. And so I brought home Snapped in Cornwall, the first of seven mysteries featuring Rose Trevelyan.
Rose lives a mile away from me, in in the fishing port of Newlyn. She’s a photographer, living quietly since she was widowed a few years ago. Her portrait is simply but very well painted. All of the little details were right, and she could easily be someone I passed in the street and I liked her enough to want to know what happened and to keep turning the pages.
And then there was Gabrielle Milton, who hired Rose to photograph her new country home. She and Rose got on, they could have become friends. And Garielle invited Rose to a party – only for Rose to discover her body below a balcony.
It seemed that Gabrielle had been pushed. But who pushed her. Her unfaithful husband? His mistress. Her son, who desperately needed the money he believed his mother would leave him? His ambitious fiancé? The local woman who believed that Gabrielle was after her husband?
An interesting and eminently believable band of suspects and a simple, uncomplicated mystery.
Rose is drawn in because she found the body and because her own bereavement led her to offer the right kind of support to Gabrielle’s loved ones. It’s little contrived, she finds out things a little too easily, but Janie Bolitho just about gets away with it. Because her characters, their relationship, their behaviour, they all have the ring of truth.
And of course she uncovers the truth. It was believable, without being obvious.
Snapped In Cornwall is a simple traditional mystery, easy to read, and it captures Cornwall and the Cornish beautifully – everything happened within a few miles of me in places I know well and I have to say nothing at all jarred. It would make wonderful television.
I won’t be rushing to the library for the next installment, but I’ll definitely be picking it up one of these days.