- Author: Robert Daws
- Published: September 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Category: Mystery, Crime, Thriller
The Rock. Gibraltar. 1966.
In a fading colonial house overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar, the dead body of a beautiful woman lays dripping in blood. The steel handle of a knife protrudes from her chest, its sharpened tip buried deep within her heart.
After a well described opening scene the story moves to the present day and Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan as she is airborne on her way to Gibraltar. She’s on secondment for twelve weeks from the Metropolitan Police after being cleared of the charge of professional misconduct. She considers this her punishment and is not looking forward to the deviation from her career plans. The Gibraltar police are short of a detective in CID so Tamara joins Detective Inspector Gus Broderick’s team, not expecting any serious crime on the island.
Jennifer and Martin Tavares decide to walk home after a charity gala night, the completion of over a year’s fundraising by Jennifer to aid the creation of a new play garden for a child care centre. Caught in the middle of a police motorbike chase, Jennifer is mown down and rushed to A&E where she is operated on immediately.
Bryant hesitated for a moment, not sure that he really wanted to hear the answer.
‘I’m afraid she didn’t make it, Bryant.’
Only two words escaped Bryant’s lips: ‘Oh God.’
‘I’ve tried to speak to the husband downstairs, but… for obvious reasons… it’s not the appropriate time. Just try and keep it together, constable. We’ll sort this.’
Bryant lay back, his eyes fixed on the ceiling above him. It was a tragic accident. It wasn’t his fault. He knew that he had to stay strong. A single tear slid down his cheek. He quickly wiped it away and turned to bury his face in his pillow.
There are several threads gradually combining to create a solid police procedural/murder story. A well paced and formulated plot, together with good characterisation and the fabulous backdrop of Gibraltar. I particularly liked the differing aspects of Broderick’s work and home persona and the reasons for the contrast. Tamara is well defined and likeable, capable of independent thinking and acting on those thoughts, with a slight maverick tendency. I enjoyed the realistic dialogue and chemistry between the main characters.
This is a debut novella, just 182 pages in the print version, written in an easy reading style. A quick but satisfying read with a twist in the tail. Great start to a series and I’m looking forward to the next book.
About Robert Daws
His recent work for the stage includes the national tours of Michael Frayn’s Alarms and Excursions, and David Harrower’s Blackbird. In the West End, he has recently appeared as Dr John Watson in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, Geoffrey Hammond in Public Property, Jim Hacker in Yes, Prime Minister and John Betjeman in Summoned by Betjeman.
His many BBC radio performances include Arthur Lowe in Dear Arthur, Love John, Ronnie Barker in Goodnight from Him and Chief Inspector Trueman in Trueman and Riley, the long-running police detective series he co-created with writer Brian B Thompson.
Robert’s second and third Sullivan and Broderick novels – Poisoned Rock and Killing Rock – will be published in September 2016 and early 2017, respectively. His first novella, The Rock, has been optioned and is being developed for television.