One of the great things about following book bloggers is that you come across authors that you haven’t heard of before. Adam Croft fell into that category for me and that only changed as a result of me reading a review of What Lies Beneath on the Chat About Books blog (well worth following, if you get the chance). Naturally, the review was a positive one, but what really grabbed my attention was the setting for the novel. Rutland.
Rutland might mean nothing to you. But it might also be that any one of a range of references spring to mind. Britain’s smallest county, for example, or the fact that the county actually disappeared for a while before it was reinstated. For those of a certain vintage, there could even be Rutland Weekend Television and its spin-off, The Rutles (if you don’t know, you’ve missed a treat). My first thought when Rutland is mentioned, though, is Rutland Water. It’s my favourite place to sail, but I’ve also cycled around it several times (including by tandem), I’ve used the climbing wall and high ropes facilities, and taken a ride on the Rutland Belle. There’s plenty more to do there as well. As days out go, it’s hard to beat.
The history of Rutland Water is an interesting one, but would take up too much space here in what is intended to be a book review. However, What Lies Beneath does provide some of that history in its story line.
For people who have a degree of familiarity with Rutland (and that’s probably the best I can say about my own knowledge of the place), reading a crime novel set there does offer an added perspective, especially when there are scenes like the opening which occurs at Normanton Church. You’ll see from the image here that Normanton Church is a little unusual – but that’s because most of it is submerged.
Intrigued? If you don’t know the background, you should be.
Anyway, as I’ve already indicated, this isn’t supposed to be a post about Rutland. But I hope it’s at least given an insight as to why I was drawn to the novel.
So what can I say about the book itself? Well, it’s a police procedural, and the protagonist, like so many others before her, comes with some baggage. But the nature of that baggage forms almost as much of a mystery as the crime that’s being investigated. The payoffs on both are satisfying, though when the ‘villain’ the detectives are trying to track down is revealed, it’s perhaps not as big a surprise as you might expect. That said, the motives and the background to them are probably more important than the who in this case.
I’d be lying if I said this was a classic or broke new ground. What it did for me, though, was provide an entertaining read that went along at a good pace. The history and geography blended easily into the storyline and became an intrinsic part of it. As someone with that degree of familiarity, it provided an extra level of interest and gave me a nudge to take a trip down there again. I suspect that, if I didn’t have that familiarity, it would’ve aroused my curiosity and caused me to pay a visit as well. If you’ve read it and it did that for you, let me know. Maybe we can meet up and enjoy the scenery – from the shore or the middle of the lake, either is an option…
Travelogue aside, I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to trying the next in the series.
If I have piqued your interest in the book and you want to know more, click on the image below for the Amazon link.
And if you’re tempted by the idea of paying a visit, let me know. We can make a day of it…