Plot Summary: Polly Carter is a world famous super model. She is currently staying in Saint Marie with her twin sister, Claire, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair to move about. On one fine morning Claire wakes up to find her famous sister sitting in the drawing room and smoking. Claire and Polly never had a cordial relationship, but on that morning Polly looked distinctly perturbed with Claire. Polly ignoring Claire's caretaker Sophie, pushes her to the outside lawn to have a word with her invalid sister.
Soon, Sophie witnesses an argument between the two sisters. She watches Polly pushing Claire from the lawn towards the cliff. Sophie runs after them, when she reaches the end of the cliff, she sees Claire a little distance away from the edge of the cliff still ensconced in her wheel chair, but Polly is missing! She walks towards the edge of the cliff and sees Polly lying dead on the floor below. Polly has committed suicide.
That is the only logical conclusion. No one else was on the cliff, Claire is paralyzed from waist down she could not have pushed her sister. So, it could only have been a suicide, but then what is Richard Poole doing investigating a suicide? Poole is sure this was a murder but he has three problems. Who did it and how? and the bigger problem of his mother visiting him on Saint Marie.
In my opinion DI Poole is one of the best detectives ever written in detective fiction, in the same league as Poirot, Holmes and Henry Merrivale. He is brilliant, whimsical, comical and much like his predecessors rather lonely. I predict that the author has managed to create a character who in the coming years is going to achieve massive fame for himself and his creator. DI Poole's antics are delightful and his cases are engrossing, on top of that his love/hate relationship with Camille is great fun to read. Readers would love to see some intimacy between the two in the next book in the series.
The book is filled with suspects; each one more disingenuous than then next making it difficult to decipher what is actually going on and who was where at the time of death and their true motives? Characterization is a strong point of Mr. Thorogood, the author. Besides Poole and Camille, the supporting cast of characters are also well fleshed out and believable. DI Poole's mother Jane is also well sewn in the book, who is tired of her life in England and wants to have some fun in her twilight years much to the dismay of her son.
The mystery and its solution are very well done. Half way through the book I though I figured out who the killer was? had even figured out how the murder was done, but it proved to be a red herring, which was quite a surprise for me. The solution of this story is evocative of an episode from the first season of death in paradise. Can't point out which one trying to keep things spoiler free.
Must read for all mystery fans. Mr. Thorogood if you are reading please come out quickly with the next book in the series.