Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood

Image result for a meditation on murderDI Richard Poole loves England. The afternoon tea, cold weather and the formal attire. Unfortunately for him he has has been transferred to the gorgeous Saint Marie island in the Caribbean. Most folks would give their right hand to be sent to the tropical paradise, with pristine beaches and friendly faces, but not DI Poole. Poole hates the sun, the food and is not too fond of people. The man insists on wearing a blazer, tie, trousers and formal shoes in the sweltering heat; putting him in perpetual discomfort and earning him the title of pucca sahib.

 Besides Poole's poor people skills and inappropriate attire, the man is a brilliant detective. He has already solved a perplexing murder earning him the respect of his subordinates and locals. Now, Poole has another case on his hands. A seemingly kind and gentleman has been murdered in a meditation room. The room made up of paper walls was locked from inside. A meditation session was in progress with 5 people in attendance besides the victim. Cries were heard from the hut, when it was broken in, the victim a new age guru, was lying dead and a woman with a bloody knife was standing on top of him, while the other people looking dazed and confused. The woman confesses to the crime but has no recollection of how or why she killed this man? Everyone thinks that they have got the killer except DI Richard Poole.

Image result for death in paradise season 2

Death in paradise is a popular whodunit TV show. The book is based on the same show, written by the same person, Robert Thorogood. This is his debut novel, and it is a cracking debut. Let me dissect the novel one by one.

The premise is an interesting one, it is a locked room murder. After the investigation Poole and his staff discover that the only lock to the hut was not tampered, hut was shut from inside and no one had broken through the paper walls. That means no one from outside could have murdered this guru. The people inside the hut have no apparent motives, and why would one of them a choose such closed place for murder where the blame would fall squarely on one of them. Making them automatic suspects in the eyes of the police.

The characters are engaging, entertaining and enduring. Even after finishing the novel you keep thinking about them. The banter between DI Poole and his beautiful Detective sergeant Camille leaves you for wanting more. They both compliment each other very well too, while Poole is a stickler for rules, Camille has no such qualms. Poole comes off as disengaged and cold but Camille is passionate and empathetic. While Camille loves St Marie, Poole despises the place. Camille keeps on making attempts to make Poole like the place and befriend him. One can make out that the two definitely have some chemistry going on. Fidel and Dwayne make up the other too policeman at St Marie, they both are quite interesting characters and good add-ons to the list of characters.

 DI Poole is the star of the show, he is eccentric, whimsical and sometimes even annoying. He insists on being English in this most foreign of places. My thoughts on Poole are that he has deluded himself into believing that somehow if he still acts as if he is in England, everything will be alright and he will just keep ignoring the existence of St Marie and that fact that he is on it. I think the author is also trying to remind us of colonialism of the the English, How the white man would rather change colonies than change himself for his convenience. Since the white men no longer have absolute control therefore, they now have to abide by the natives.

Mystery novels are almost always deficient of humor. Thanks to Poole and his company we get dollops of good humor and funny moments. The most funniest moments are when the staff at St Marie has to put up with the idiosyncrasies of their boss. Not only because he is their superior but also he is a nice person and a brilliant detective.

I would strongly recommend this book to everyone who loves mystery novels, oh and one last thing the solution to the locked room is quite satisfactory. Looking forward to the next edition in the series.

Image result for 4.5 stars out of 5


  1. Thanks for the review. :) I very much enjoyed this novel, and was only hampered by the fact that I read it prior to watching the series - and therefore had the wrong mental picture of virtually all the main characters. It was only after I started watching the series that I realised what a difference some background information would have made to my experience of the novel.

    1. hi Jonathan - That's really interesting and makes me wonder how I would have imagined the characters had I not seen the show first. Happy reading :)


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