THIS murder mystery is the third book by local writer Christine Smith set mainly around Mojacar in Almeria, Spain.
“She needed a sanctuary to return from the madness of her career, a safe haven of love and happiness. A place for normality.”
Robert Taylor represented that “normality” so desired by Clare White. He was a section leader for the local council, thirty-one years of age leading a mundane life: drinking every Friday night with Jim from work and lunch with his parents on Sundays. Not much of a hell-raiser! A domestic emergency disrupted the Friday routine and as Jim made a hurried exit, Clare White made a dramatic entrance and headed to where Robert was left supping his pint solo. Not a bad substitute, especially one that was beautiful.
“Robert sat mesmerised; she was like some exotic creature, the like of which had never crossed his path before.”
Abruptly she disappeared telling Robert she was heading to Nairobi and kissed him on the cheek before he had time to collect his thoughts swimming round his head. Robert didn’t expect to see her again. Low expectations. However, several months later he did! She “entranced” him and he described her as “wonderful” and “vibrant.” The relationship develops quickly after this. Clare explained how she craved “normality” because her work could be dangerous.
A marriage followed by two children and “life settled into a happy routine.” Clare took on some part-time work locally before announcing one day that she wanted to return to the real work of being an investigative journalist. Like a bolt of lightning Robert’s peace was shattered and this created tension. “If he really thought she could stand wasting away in suburbia, he could think again.” Intimacy between them ceased and Robert was side-lined. Living in the UK was tedious and Clare proposed a move to Spain which happened six months later.
A parallel storyline involved another difficult relationship. Guy Seager, actually called Peter Brown, a brutish man “insubordinate, surly and lazy” wanted to be seen as an entrepreneur when in fact he was a sleazy drugs manager who controlled a small gang of pedlars. He was ambitious and corrupt. He needed a trophy wife and he met Marilyn Porter in the West End. The marriage provided him with “the perfect front of an entrepreneur.” They spent their honeymoon in Malaga and we are told that those fourteen days “were probably the happiest time that the couple would spend together.” When Guy sees an opening in Spain for expanding his drugs business the couple move close to the Taylors and this is where their lives “intertwine” somewhat. An affair, a suicide or perhaps a murder investigation follows with a drugs bust courtesy of Inspector Morales and ex-CID Morgan.