The first time Environmental Health Officer Kent Fisher saw Columbo, he knew that was how he wanted to investigate and now his chance has come. He has to examine an apparently work-related accident at Tombstone Adventure Park, owned by his long-time adversary, Miles Birchill
Kent Fisher Mysteries #1
Environmental Health Officer Kent Fisher feels he is “the best officer to investigate this accident, and probably the worst.” His detestation for Miles Birchill arose when the latter sacrificed 500 acres of England’s stunning South Downs to build his Tombstone Adventure Park. Kent and many others fought in vain to stop it. If only the (work-related) accidental death he is called to investigate could be that of Miles Birchill! No such luck though. The deceased is a certain Collins, an employee of Birchill and the two of them have a strange boss-employee relationship as Collins refused to do Birchill’s work. So why was he found dead next to the object that killed him, a tractor? Only one man can get to the bottom of this: Kent Fisher.
Together with his lovely assistant, Gemma, Kent Fisher examines the scene of the accident and he wants nothing more than to place the blame for the accident firmly with the owner of the Adventure Park, Miles Birchill. However, the Police are convinced that it is a tragic and self-inflicted accident and thus they lay the blame with Collins himself. Kent Fisher cannot but wonder why the man should have wanted to wear a tie to work with a tractor? Come to think of it, Collins pointedly refused to do such work – so why today of all days should he start at the unholy hour of six am? Furthermore, Collins was a generally loathed character whose death will not be mourned by many. The new Coroner’s Officer, Carolyn Montague, needs evidence if she is to request a suspicious death investigation. Then there is the jogger, Cheung, who was so unfortunate as to discover the mutilated body…
Much opposed to Kent’s presence on the farm is Miles Birchill who immediately seizes the opportunity to mention the Court Order, prohibiting Kent from entering Tombstone. The reason for this Court Order? Well, at their previous encounter, Kent had “emptied the contents of a muck spreader into his (Birchill’s) convertible” in a last ditch attempt to stop the inevitable. Not even Kent’s father, “the Conservative MP for Downland“, had been able to stop Birchill’s scheme. Now Kent lives on a small part of what used to be his father’s estate, where his animal sanctuary including Columbo, the dog, is in desperate need of funds. All Kent wants, is to keep his sanctuary and continue to live “at the foot of the majestic South Downs“, the place he loves. Antagonising Miles Birchill may very well mean his dismissal but Kent, like his favourite detective Columbo, sinks his teeth into the case, believing the death of Collins to be no accident. In doing so, he blunders into long hidden secrets and comes close to jeopardising everything….
This is quite an extraordinary detective thriller and I loved it. The author’s love for the South Downs and its surroundings shimmers through almost every sentence and is the motivating power behind the actions of his protagonist, Kent Fisher. A novel idea, to have an Environmental Health Officer investigating accidents (murders?). By doing so, the author opens up so many possibilities and I have to say that grabbing lunch whilst working will never feel the same again! Who would not love Kent, the man who is living on a small part of what used to be his father’s ancestral estate? Kent Fisher believes in what he does, in preserving our natural environment and in contributing to its upkeep. Like the author, Kent loves detectives and the American Lieutenant Columbo is his favourite. That is why he has called the dog who came to his animal sanctuary, Columbo, and this endears him even more to me. There is also a stubbornness behind his exterior, a man who prefers actions to explanations and who would rather give an unfavourable impression than show the depth of his feelings.
With Robert Crouch, I share a love for detectives (Agatha Christie is my all-time favourite author). Therefore, it will come as no surprise that I love his expertly written detective novel. I enjoyed reading this book with its cunning plot, its surprises and the humour shining through in his astute descriptions of characters and situations (for instance, of Kent’s shirt) and delighted in the beautiful depictive wording the author uses to tell us about the stunning nature of the South Downs. I cannot wait for the next instalment in the series: No Bodies.
Other instalments in the Kent Fisher Mystery Series:
#2 No Bodies – due on October 19th, 2017 – the blog tour starts on Publication Day
#3 No Remorse – publication date not yet available
Want to know more about the South Downs – Kent Fisher County? Click here
About the Author
Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy. At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder. Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.
Robert now writes full-time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo. To discover more, visit http://robertcrouch.co.uk.
|File Size||2372 KB (294 pages)|
|Publisher||Robert Crouch (24 July 2017)|