Romney and Marsh? It’s a little contrived, although as DI Romney and Sergeant Marsh are based in Dover it’s a nod to the location. Totteridge and Whetstone? Lemington and Spa? Newcastle and Upontyne?
To be fair I once invented an Algerian Detective called Theydon Bois, but as he hasn’t solved any cases yet, the less said about that the better. All I can say is that it’s distracting. You’d think, to add a touch of reality to the piece that some villain might snort during an interview and say ‘Romney and Marsh? You’re having a laugh governor!’ but nobody does.
However, Romney and Marsh are summoned to a garage where an employee has been assaulted and his female colleague tied to a table and raped. The rapist was described as having an Eastern European accent and was wearing a balaclava.
The case is complicated by the fact that the victim is the girlfriend of local villain Simon Avery.
The narrative is very much focused on Romney. He is renovating a property, collects first edition books and is having a not too serious relationship with a woman called Julie. Of Marsh we know very little, although she features in the action just as much.
There’s not a lot of character exploration elsewhere to be honest. Tidy has some interesting characters to work with but here they’re a little two dimensional. There’s also a lack of tension between characters. It’s good to have someone working against your hero, or a bad apple at the police station, or a nasty boss. There’s none of that in Dover. All the police are very nice and a trifle dull as a result.
It’s a short and satisfying read though, and kept me enthralled. I would have liked to have seen some resolution to a related case of suspected murder, and although it is suggested that this would be resolved due to evidence discovered in the finale we don’t get complete closure.
Will I read further novels? Yes, probably. Tidy needs to work on his characters but I’m happy to read the next one.