It is towards the end of another shift during that hot summer of 1976 when DS Claydon sees a plane crash in sea before the Essex coast – as it turns out, foul play is at hand! A murder to be investigated in this start of a new detective series introducing DS Claydon and DI Barton
The Tendring Series #1
The summer of 1976 seems to hold on forever: it is the last day of August and still, the temperatures are very high. DS Claydon is at the end of his shift and contemplates his nearing retirement. Walks with his dog and chats with Doris, his neighbour but to be honest, Claydon could do without it. Since having lost his wife, his home is empty and fifty is not an age to be playing golf all day. Let alone have no one to share his retirement with… Then an unexpected event happens: a plane crashes before his eyes. As tragic as it is, the case gets serious when Claydon discovers a body, wrapped in plastic, next to the pilot. Whose body? This has all the looks of premeditation… murder!
The CID has to be informed and the one who the case is assigned to is not too happy. To be woken at six am when you are nursing a mighty hangover is not a good start to your day. It gets worse because his DS is in hospital which leaves DI Barton with DS Claydon – if only temporarily. Barton aka Dick (and no surprise why he got that nickname!) is insensitive and shows little regard for his team which Claydon loathes. As intriguing as it is to be part of the CID, the price to pay – working with DI Barton – might be too high! In demeanour as in appearance the men differ like day and night: where Barton has trouble finding clean clothes in his messy apartment, Claydon goes the extra mile to take care of his appearance. Where Barton lives an outgoing life of drinking and one-night-stands, Claydon is still recovering from the loss of his wife and enjoys staying in or walks with his dog, Charlie.
But the murder enquiry demands their full attention. Who was the victim and what was his body doing on that plane? There are rich businessmen involved and dubious gangland connections but nothing to pinpoint a culprit or a motive, for that matter. Was the pilot, a mechanic called Fletcher, acting on orders when he took the murdered body with him? If so, whose? All these questions and there is more. A small-time crook is missing and that particular fact uneases DI Barton which in turn makes Claydon suspicious. Can he even trust his DI? Apparently, most of the people Barton works with do not particularly like the man but that does not make him a bent copper, right? Slowly but surely, the plot thickens and gets more complicated but will they unravel it all before more people find themselves in mortal danger?
Disposal is the first book in The Tendring Series, set in the 1970s. I like how the author matches the pace of the book with the time and shows us specifics of that time in the behaviour of his characters. The evolving dynamic between Cyril Clayton and Dick Barton is wonderful to watch – you almost feel the tension between the two men and wonder whether they will hit it off and then see, rather grudgingly, how Barton starts to at least listen to his new DS. This is a detective novel stepping away from the current, hectic times and bringing us back to the days where smartphones were non-existent as was the internet, when smoking was publicly accepted almost everywhere.
I loved Doris, Clayton’s neighbour, she is such an endearing character and also gives us some insight into Clayton’s deceased wife and their marriage. Disposal is carefully crafted and layered with all those things we remember from growing up the 1970s and shows us, how police investigations were executed at that time. Reports are written on paper with a pen, a lot of footwork and grind-to-the-nose detecting – just delightful! It all gives Disposal that authentical feel as you are transported back in time whilst reading the engrossing plotlines, which include the personal lives of our protagonists. An enjoyable and captivating detective novel and a very promising start to a new series!
About the Author
David Evans is a Scots-born writer who found his true love as well as his inspiration for his detective series in Wakefield. Having written all his life, in 2012 he decided to go for it – successfully as the next year, in 2013, he was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award.
The Wakefield Series became an International Bestseller in June 2017 with success in Canada and Australia as well as the UK. But now, whilst The Wakefield Series awaits the next instalment, David Evans has written Disposal, the first in The Tendring Series, a completely new detective series set in north Essex in the 1970s.
|Publisher||Orchard View Publications (16 Jan. 2018)|