Published by: Black and White Publishing | Publication date: 15th July 2015 | Edition: Paperback
I’m DELIGHTED to be hosting the tour today for this intriguing book by author, Andrew Nicoll. It’s contents are a recipe for THE most remarkable mystery. Let’s examine the essential ingredients:
HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT MURDER MYSTERY
(Otherwise known as a “Miss Jean Milne”)
- First, take one true account concerning an upstanding pillar of the community, a wealthy spinster of Broughty Ferry by the name of Miss Jean Milne.
- Ensure this quiet lady, whose dresses a little young for her age, resides at a crumbling home called Elmgrove and ventures away from the village on regular trips to London – which will already make her unquestionably mysterious.
- Now, work in the exceptional circumstances of a brutal murder – her murder.
- Sprinkle doubt as to the actual date she expired, with varying or exaggerated reports from members of the community.
- Add secrets, manipulation, intrigue, and a little dry humour to personalise the characters. Then, throw in a couple of rogues for good measure.
- Simply magnificent Scottish dialogue is a must (everyone knows I’m a huge fan of well-written accents)!
- Stir vigorously until the police are clutching at straws.
- Allow the story to gently rise and reach the most excellent finale.
- Finally, let the book be devoured by all.
After you have digested that little snippet, here’s my official review…
Based on the true story of the unsolved odd death of Miss Jean Milne, this is a culmination of an investigation, told in the first person by one Sargent Fraser of the Broughty Ferry constabulary. The strong Scottish dialogue in places captures the time and place, along with newspaper articles, the police reports and letters, making this a consistently interesting and captivating read.
In 1912 Sargent Fraser assists Detective Lieutenant John Trench, who, let’s be honest, has his work cut out for him. Trench finds himself all but competing with the Chief Constable Sempill to solve the mystery that surrounds this lady’s demise.
Without the tools available to our modern day police force, this investigation leads the inspectors backwards and forwards on exhausting journeys by rail to the Capital, and even as far as Antwerp, looking for suspects. Relying on dubious witness reports and very little else, the Broughty Ferry Constabulary gain no ground in arresting the villain concerned.
That is, until Trench’s superior, Semphill, pins his hopes on a suspect. Trench has his doubts, and effectively the two battle it out to corner the brute, but in the process they reveal a shadowy world, bumping into shadier characters along the way. As you would expect, the paparazzi of the day play their part. All-in-all this story presents the investigation as having much confusion, an abuse of police time and funds, and as being pretty much a bumbling shambles.
In the real world the killer was never caught. Whilst justice may not have been served, the author has certainly done this story justice; having restored Jean Milne back to life, if only briefly, to offer his interpretation of what was her very curiously secretive life and even more peculiar death, even going as far as to suggest a killer in this eye-opening fictional scenario.
I hesitate to say I enjoyed this book, as a poor lady, if somewhat unusually behaved to the others of her period, was actually murdered. However, if I were to regard this entirely as a work of ‘fiction’, I cannot deny it was wonderfully written, with prose that flows – I was transfixed, finding myself reading into the early hours, and what a gobsmacking finale the author introduced, too!
It doesn’t read like a ‘true account’ at all. It simply invites you to seek the essence of the period, the uniqueness of the witnesses and the hideous incident itself. It is quite the most magnificent murder mystery, and I savoured every word.
(My sincere thanks to the publisher for permitting me to be part of this Book Tour, without which I would never have discovered such an excellent read.)
Oh, and if you are interested in further reading regarding the actual case, you can check out this website. But do visit it AFTER READING, as to not spoil what is a ruddy good book: “The Broughty Ferry Mystery”
After a brief stint as a lumberjack, Andrew Nicholl has spent his working life as a newspaper journalist. His first novel, The Good Mayor, was an international bestseller. Andrew is married, has three children and lives in Broughty Ferry.
Discover more about this book: Amazon UK
I loved this so much I bought the Kindle version too – it was only £0.49 pence as of 10/07/15 – AN ABSOLUTE STEAL!
Tomorrow, the next stop of the #MissJeanMilne book tour will be with:
“GRAB THIS BOOK”
Thanks for stopping by, everybody!