I was undecided what to write about for the letter J in Kerrie’s Crime Fiction Alphabet series. I could have chosen P D James’s book The Private Patient, or Peter James’s Not Dead Enough or Jed Rubenfeld’s The Interpretation of Murder, all of which are in my to-be-read piles. But these, inviting though they are, are longish books and I haven’t started any of them yet.
Instead I picked one of the books I’ve borrowed recently from the library by Janie Bolitho – Betrayed in Cornwall, a quick, easy read. Janie Bolitho was born in Falmouth, Cornwall and her books have a very strong sense of place. She became a full-time writer after being employed as a bookmaker’s clerk, a debt collector, a tour operator’s assistant and a psychiatric nurse. She died of breast cancer in 2002. The first book of hers I read was Snapped in Cornwall, which is the first book in her series of mysteries featuring Rose Trevelyan (see my review). I think Betrayed In Cornwall (the fourth in the series) is a better book.
Rose is an artist and is holding her first solo exhibition in oil paintings. When her friend Etta Chynoweth doesn’t turn up at the pre-opening private viewing she is concerned and then shocked to discover that Joe, Etta’s son had been found dead at the bottom of a cliff, a packet of heroin near his body. The police think he was involved in drug dealing but Rose and Joe’s family can’t believe that. Rose is convinced that Joe was murdered and that he was set up. Then Joe’s sister, Sarah goes missing. She’d seen Joe with two men on the night he died, near where he died. Did she know too much? Etta has been having an affair with a married man – is he involved and how? Rose has her own ideas and sets about investigating on her own, then everything goes wrong. Add into this mix Rose’s relationship with DI Jack Pearce, a relationship she had broken after a year. Everyone except Rose can see how he still feels about her but she just cannot admit what she feels about him.
I enjoyed this book for what it is, a murder mystery with a ‘cosy’ feel. The characters are quickly drawn, but I still felt they were believable, the writing is fluent, and the Cornish location is superb.