With only five weeks to go before the end of her secondment to the Royal Gibraltar Police Force, D.S. Tamara Sullivan is enjoying life on the Rock. With one murder investigation successfully under their belts, Sullivan and her commanding officer, Chief Inspector Gus Broderick, settle down to regular police work under the sunny Mediterranean skies.
The second instalment of the The Rock Murder Mysteries finds Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan and Chief Inspector Gus Broderick involved in a tangled investigation when a film crew arrive on Gibraltar. Queen of Diamonds is a movie being filmed in Gibraltar Town based on the exploits of an alleged female spy operating in Gibraltar during World War II.
Josh Cornwallis, the screenwriter, had originally been developing a story about a particular female spy who worked for British intelligence officers, until he received an anonymous letter pertaining to another female agent. As more information, and a chance meeting, came Josh’s way he felt he had enough material and backing to write a screen play based on the new data. Top secret files smuggled out of the UK and a strange meeting in Gibraltar with Don Martinez during filming prove to be Josh’s undoing.
But by far the most interesting revelations, as far as Maugham was concerned, were those detailing the more unsavoury aspects of British intelligence initiatives. War and peace-time skulduggery laid bare. Bribery, betrayals and double-crosses. State-ordered assassinations, both planned and realised, were now out in the open for all to see. A Pandora’s box had been opened, its fascinating and damning contents given full transparency. Of the files still considered ‘too toxic for release’, there were surprisingly few. In fact, Maugham had kept back only one file from his area of interest, a slim volume found at the bottom of a drab grey filing cabinet. It contained information about intelligence and espionage operations carried out during World War II in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar.
The story begins in the Gibraltar of 1942 with a young woman, moonlighting as a prostitute, who is found murdered. With the items she has in her possession, the then Inspector of the Gibraltar police force finds he has enough information to make tracing the unfortunate victim easier than he had supposed.
Back in the present day, Tamara and Gus find themselves involved in the long reaching consequences of that murder and the associated declassified file secreted by Graeme Maugham and brought to Gibraltar. As members of the cast and crew are targeted, the information contained in the file and the resulting dark mystery plunges Tamara and Gus into the murky world of espionage and covert operations.
Great writing along with a fast moving, skilful plot line, clearly defined, engaging characters and realistic dialogue combine to deliver an excellent read. As in the first book, the setting is fabulous and shows the author’s love and knowledge of the area. The continued working and friendly relationship building between Tamara and Gus adds to the realism, as does Gus’ bond with his family.
The diverse cast of characters made trying to guess the outcome incredibly difficult, even with the rising body count, and the reveal was something I hadn’t even considered. Robert Daws has hit his stride with this book. I loved it. Looking forward to more of the same.
About Robert Daws
As an actor, Robert Daws has appeared in leading roles in a number of award-winning and long-running British television series, including Jeeves and Wooster, Casualty, The House of Eliott, Outside Edge, Roger Roger, Sword of Honour, Take A Girl Like You, Doc Martin, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders, Rock and Chips, The Royal, Death in Paradise, Father Brown and Poldark.
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.