Posted by: travelrat | September 30, 2013

‘Deadly Tide’: Review

Deadly Tide
by George East
La Puce Publications (

I haven’t heard from George East for quite a while. Last I heard, he was disappearing up the Loire, to research the latest of his delightful and amusing pen-portraits of life in France.

Although ‘French Impressions: The Loire Valley’ did indeed appear, his work branched out in a totally different direction. Detective fiction!

‘Deadly Tide’ is the second of such books he’s produced; I haven’t seen the first one ‘Death Duty’ yet. But, both involve the maverick DI Jack Mowgley and his colleagues. Jack is a copper of the old school. He’s not the first one to live over an Indian restaurant … after reading that, it took a while to shake off the image of R.D. Wingfield’s ‘Inspector Frost’ … but he must be the only one ever to have the legend ‘ACAB’ tattooed on his knuckles.

However, there is a bit of Frost there … also bits of Columbo, Jack Reagan and Jim Taggart … as well as a little slice of George himself. But, all combine to make Mowgley a character in his own right, rather than a clone of another.

George has set his novel in Portsmouth and France; areas he knows well … and, it’s not the Portsmouth where you come and see around the ‘Mary Rose’, take a couple of pictures of HMS Victory and then go home. This is Portsmouth as seen by someone who’s lived there, and seen its other side.

The book also sees the re-appearance of ‘The Ship Leopard’, the pub once managed by George in ‘A Year Behind Bars’, with its mix of unsavoury, but often lovable characters.

The thing that makes this book stand out is that most fictional detectives have everything wrapped neatly up in the final frame or chapter; the bad guys are in jail and everyone lives happily ever after.

Not here; the hero doesn’t get the girl, and the mystery remains unsolved. But, that’s how real police work often goes. Nevertheless, it’s still a vividly descriptive and highly entertaining read.

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