Broadlands (DI Tanner Book 1) by David Blake

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Broadlands (DI Tanner Book 1) by David Blake

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A reasonable story with some shortcomings, but I didn't guess whodunnit!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 231 Date: April 2019
Publisher: Black Oak

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It was a monumental change for DI John Tanner: used to the shortened vistas of life in London it wasn't going to be easy to come to terms with the wide open skies of Norfolk. But it was his own choice: his daughter had died nine months before and his marriage had failed. He needed a new start and he'd been offered the job at Wroxham and a family friend had suggested that he could live on his boat. It was a little cramped and the facilities were limited, to say the least, but it would do until he could find a flat to rent.

The other officers at Wroxham weren't all quite so pleased to see him. DCI Barrington made it clear that he'd wanted someone with local knowledge to replace an officer who'd retired and he couldn't really see what use Tanner would be. To start with he was put on missing persons - not really the job for a DI, but it kept him out of DI Burgess's hair. Burgess was nervous of Tanner, who had the experience of leading big cases, which Burgess lacked. Barrington pandered to Burgess and put him as senior investigating officer when Tanner's missing person case turned into a suspicious death. Tanner was to assist him.

There was a redeeming feature to the arrangement: DC Jenny Evans came along as part of the package and whilst it was early days for Tanner, he had to admit that despite the age difference she did appeal to him. Jenny's what my mother would have called forward (accompanied by a knowing look) and she's not shy about announcing her attraction to Tanner. But there's work to do, as the suspicious death turns into the first murder.

I found the book heavy on description: I knew so much about the police station that I felt I would have been in a position to make a bid for the cleaning contract. I prefer to gather impressions on the way rather than know about gleaming screens and carpet tiles. Once author David Blake moves away from building and onto what he obviously loves, the book picks up. He knows the Norfolk Broads and his knowledge shines through: he creates the feel of the Broads before the season gets started with remarkably few words.

Characterisation was a little two dimensional and the interactions between the police officers was superficial. Perhaps future books will build on the good foundations and deliver rather more. The plot was reasonable if not exceptional, although I didn't guess whodunit until it was revealed.

I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to Bookbag. If you'd like more crime from Norfolk we can recommend Steve Burrows' DCI Domenic Jejeune's Birder Murder Mysteries for those who like the North Norfolk coast. Ellie Griffiths' Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries span the coast and Norwich. Ann Cleeves' George and Molly Palmer-Jones Books are not of the same quality as her later Vera Stanhope and Shetland novels but are still very readable.

David Blake's John Tanner Books in Chronological Order

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Buy Broadlands (DI Tanner Book 1) by David Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Broadlands (DI Tanner Book 1) by David Blake at


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