Newland, Courttia - 'The Dying Wish'
As part of the World Book Day (UK and Ireland) celebration, a series of 'Quick Reads' was issued, aimed at those people who haven't the time, inclination or ability to read books, to encourage them to have another go. The 'Quick Reads' are just over 100 pages with a clear, large font and authors such as Val McDermid, Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters have been involved this year. The full list is available at http://www.worldbookday.com/about/about_quickreads.asp. The second tranche is just being published to coincide with Adult Learners Week.
THE DYING WISH stars Ervine James and to a lesser extent, his business partner Carmen Sinclair and they run a private investigation firm in London. This is Ervine's second adventure in print, the first being 2002's SNAKESKIN.
Ervine is attracted to the new tenant of the office next to his but his suspicions are roused when she appears to give him a false name. Her company doesn't stay in the building for long, just a few weeks before clearing out. Ervine has no idea what the firm did as the only clue was the initials SN on their front door. Shortly after, the police ask Ervine to investigate, as they believe that SN was carrying out illegal assisted suicides. The police haven't enough evidence to charge them even if they could find them. Ervine agrees and follows up on the witness statements provided to the police.
THE DYING WISH is a bare bones private investigator tale which moves swiftly but still gives enough information about Ervine, from both business and family interactions, to make him a real person. The other characters are less fleshed out but given the constraints this isn't surprising and it almost feels like a full-length story. I enjoyed this and hope for more appearances from James and co, especially as there are few British black PI series.
As a regular reader I find the 'Quick Reads' a great way to sample new to me authors and they are a very handy size for commuters.
Karen Meek, England