Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty but is now privately owned. It offers respite to over-stressed men and women in positions of high authority who require privacy and guaranteed security. But the peace of Combe is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is bizarrely murdered.

Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the mystery quickly and discreetly, but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. Hardly have they begun to unravel the complicated motives of the suspects than there is a second brutal killing and the whole investigation is jeopardized when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and as potentially fatal as murder.

New book clubs can take awhile to get settled into good comfortable discussions, but our Mystery Book Club is not wasting any time on that score. Last month’s book The Lighthouse by P.D. James generated a great analysis on mystery writers, their strategies, clues and red herrings.

It was generally thought that James is a good writer. She knows how to put a whodunit together with the right combination of suspects and clues to make the solving of said mystery not so easy. We have some pretty experienced mystery readers in our group and no one was able to say they knew who the killer was.

But this book did not get off that easily … there were issues to be had! Glynis and Bob, who have read other P.D. James, believe this is not her best work, and that the blood test incident was a little clumsy. Noeline found the description over the top and she lost patience with the time consuming details. She thought a map would have helped and cut through much of the embellishing. And Pat just found it slow to get going … more action quicker was needed!

So as you can see, when it comes to mystery readers, you are dealing with some very astute and perceptive detectives, and although I look forward to the day when a great mystery, that leaves everyone lost for words comes along … I will not be holding my breath!

We’ll be breaking for January and resume our meeting the first Thursday of February. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our readers.