Barr, Marcus - 'Haggard Hawk'
Nathan Hawk is a recently retired detective chief inspector. A widower with four grown-up children, who are living or travelling across the world, he's recently moved to a cottage in a quiet Buckinghamshire village.
One evening returning home in the car of a lady doctor they hear gunshots then come across the bodies of a couple who own the local Pub. Jim Ryder is dead but his wife Julie is still alive. Jim has recently been paroled from prison for embezzling £2m from his previous employer.
Despite not being content in early retirement and not able to start the book about his police career he's promised to write, nor able to bring himself to take up an offered security management role, Nathan is at first reluctant to get involved with the robbery of the pub's night's takings from the Ryders.
It is only when the local police with Detective Chief Inspector Charnley in charge start to ignore obvious clues and investigate in the altogether wrong direction, that Nathan decides to get involved.
There are lots of local characters, including an uncle Elvis, two ambitious sisters, one of whom is living with Tom the nephew of Julie Ryder and the chef at their pub, plus an Italian beauty with an Essex accent and a Japanese teenager struggling to understand English who is lodging with Nathan.
This is the debut novel from a television script editor, who has been responsible for episodes of Z Cars, Lovejoy, Boon, Poirot, Midsomer Murders and many more.
This is a fast paced and very witty novel about a successful policeman trying to come to terms with retirement, the death of his wife and moving into a close community. He has anger management problems which he tries, often unsuccessfully, to contain with an unusual prop.
There are plenty of twists and turns and red herrings, very much in the manner of Midsomer Murders, before Hawk solves the murders. I enjoyed it very much and the end of the book suggests there will be further investigations from the Hawk. Lets hope they are not too long in coming.
Read another review of HAGGARD HAWK.
Geoff Jones, England