Poor Hands - Oliver Tidy - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

Poor Hands – Oliver Tidy

Welcome back to Romney Marsh where David Booker and Jo Cash find themselves pursuing ancient heritage as well as being drawn into the world of dark criminals … 


A Booker & Cash Story #3

The place is Dymchurch in Romney Marsh where both David Booker, the owner of the quirky bookshop and coffee shop and Jo Cash, a former cop turned detective, reside above the bookshop. Each in their own quarters because they are partners and friends but not (yet?) lovers. Reading David’s mind, you know that he is deeply in love with Jo but he fears his feelings are not reciprocated. As Jo is still struggling to make a profit out of her Detective Agency, she is pleased to receive an email from one Bruce Banner – no wonder David nicknames him ‘the Hulk,’ who wants to employ her for ancestral research. The Hulk’s client is a wealthy American lady whose ancestors originate from Romney Marsh. If you know David and Jo, you will also know whose help she will need …


Before the two of them dive into the world of genealogy, a girl seeks refuge in the bookshop and what looks like “a bad man”  comes looking for her. After he leaves, the girl disappears too, only to be found the next morning on the beach. Clearly, Maria, as she is called, is foreign and too afraid to share her story. David feels for her and decides to employ her in his coffee shop. Perhaps that was not such a good idea … In the meantime, Jo and David are determined to get on with matters at hand and visit the little town of Ivychurch where genealogist Cedric Armitage lives. As Jo’s client wants to be anonymous, the only lead they have is a name, Shirley Moor. Where Cedric at first is enthusiastic to help out, both David and Jo feel he is holding back something. As to what and for which reason, they have no idea. Even stranger, when they visit the graveyard to check out Shirley Moor’s last resting place, they find her gravestone broken. David makes a photo of it – which will prove to be one of his smarter moves.

With David and Jo trying to crack the case of the mysterious American’s search for her ancestor, Maria is grateful for the opportunity to work and live in Dymchurch. She loves the little bookshop/coffee shop and especially one of the ‘regulars,’ Ben. Ben has symptoms of Asperger’s and is visually astute: he knows exactly which book is missing from the bookshop, which car everyone drives including the number plates and many other things. David just loves his life in Dymchurch and we see his friendship with Jo intensify with every dinner they have together (David is a great cook) and with every investigation they conduct. They learn to know each other’s strength and come to trust each other’s expertise and, secretly, David hopes to earn some brownie points by sharing her interests and helping her to find the ancestral information she needs for her rich American client, even if he knows that Jo becoming successful as a private investigator will eventually lead to her leaving Dymchurch and him….

My Thoughts 

It is a delight to come back to Romney Marsh – and I must say I love the description of David Booker’s bookshop, it would be such a pleasure having a coffee there, to browse through the books and soak up the atmosphere. Oliver Tidy’s descriptions make it so real you could easily picture yourself being there. Equally, his descriptions of his main characters David and Jo are so good you feel you know them, especially David since the book is a first person narrative and it is through David’s eyes that we perceive the events. It is an accomplishment when a book’s characters feel like real life friends – I enjoyed reading about the two of them, witnessing their friendship evolve, I fell in love with Oliver Tidy’s characters. This detective novel is an entertaining, at times thrilling, cosy mystery in which the focus lies on the characters and the setting, the beautiful surroundings of Dymchurch in Romney Marsh, where the landscape and the vicinity of the sea make it an appealing place to be. The perfect read for a lazy afternoon!

The Booker & Cash Stories currently consist of three instalments. The previous books in the series are:
#1 Bad Sons (my review)
#2 He Made Me (my review)
Each book can be read as a stand-alone although I would advise to read them in order as I always prefer to have some background on the characters.

About the Author 

Oliver Tidy Author Image

Oliver Tidy is a British crime writer and publisher, born and bred on Romney Marsh, Kent. After a “fairly aimless foray into adulthood and a number of unfulfilling jobs” he decided to become a teacher and, after having spent a few years in the classroom, he became an English teacher (as a foreign language) abroad. This is when he started his writing career. Now Oliver Tidy is living in Romney Marsh again, being a full-time writer  The Booker & Cash Series, starting with this first instalment and with the next waiting around the corner, is published by Bloodhound Books. Oliver Tidy is also the author of the Romney & Marsh Files books (currently consisting of 7 instalments) and the Acer Sansom novels, consisting of 4 books) as well as a collection of short stories ‘The Crime Writer and other stories: Ten Tall Tales’.

Book Info 

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 Paperback  340 pages
 Publisher  Bloodhound Books (7 July 2017)
 ISBN  978-1912175369
 Ebook  824 KB (11 July 2017)

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