Herring on the Nile by L C Tyler

Hooray for the return of Ethelred and Elsie!

I anticipated a clever mystery and a fine entertainment, and that’s just what I got.

Ethelred is a middle-aged crime writer, scraping a living by writing three different series under three different aliases. Or rather he was. Ethelred has received an unexpected inheritance. He has a new lady friend too. And those facts might just be linked…

He books a Nile cruise: a holiday with his new love and a research trip for a new novel. But then he is jilted.

Elsie, his literary agent, is quick to invite herself along for the trip instead. But it is a decision she lives to regret.

There are threats, murder, kidnapping, and terrorism. There are misunderstandings, mistaken identities, and much confusion. And there are twists aplenty.

Yes, there’s plenty of plot. And a fine cast of characters to play it out.

And there’s more: intelligence, wit and lovely details. Too many wonderful things to pick out, but I must commend Ethelred for continuing to provide answers to the interview questions from local newspapers at Elsie’s behest. They reflected his changing circumstances, they reflected his life as a writer, and they were an absolute joy.

The similarity of the title of this book to a certain novel by Agatha Christie is not a coincidence. There are echoes of that story in this book, but there are differences too. it is a fine tribute, but a fine book in its own right too. Not a pastiche, but a modern novel following in a fine tradition.

I had a lovely time travelling with Ethelred and Elsie, and I’m hoping to meet them again in the future.

8 responses

  1. I love Death on the Nile, so teading a homage would be fun! 😀 It sounds like this is in the middle of a series…should I start at the beginning or just jump right in here?

      • You could jump right in Eva, and you would have a lovely time spotting all of the references. All of the books in the series stand up on their own. But be aware that there are a couple of plot lines that follow on from the book before and that would give away a little of the previous book (The Herring in the Library) if you wanted to go back and read it too.

  2. What a great books this sounds. Well, perhaps not a great book, but a great read. Not always the same thing.

  3. Hi Fleur – many thanks for the lovely review, which is now quoted on my website. Re Eva’s question, it’s always a problem with a series – you want each book to stand alone, but don’t want your characters or the world they live in to be completely static – so there is always a danger of a change in their circumstances in a later book (the narrator is now divorced or promoted or has a wooden leg) giving away something that happens in an earlier one. I try not to give away too much like that (and nothing hopefully that would spoil the plot) – and so I always tell people to read them in order if they want to avoid the occasional give-away, but to plunge in anywhere if not.

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