EXCERPT: They walked on until the path petered out into terraces and steps of slate. The abrupt edge was two or three feet above the smooth tops of the swells that surged onward to meet the stream in swirls of foam. Clumps of thrift, the flowerheads brown now, clung in crevices here and there. A grey and white herring gull launched itself into the air and joined its fellows circling overhead, their raucous screams cutting through the constant yet ever-changing sounds of moving water. High above floated a buzzard.
“Gorgeous,” said Megan.
“Good enough.” Nick fiddled with his camera’s settings, peered through, and fiddled some more.
Megan jumped down a slate step. Eleanor sat on it, the sun warm on her back.
“What’s that?” Nick lowered the camera and pointed.
Eleanor peered, wishing she had brought binoculars. Something dark bobbed in the water. “A seal?”
“No.” Megan’s voice rang harsh. “It’s a man. And if he’s not already dead, he soon will be.”
ABOUT THIS BOOK: While out on a walk, Eleanor Trewynn, her niece Megan, and her neighbor Nick spot a young, half-drowned Indian man floating in the water. Delirious and concussed, he utters a cryptic message about his family being trapped in a cave and his mother dying. The young man, unconscious and unable to help, is whisked away to a hospital while a desperate effort is mounted find the missing family in time.
The local police inspector presumes that they are refugees from East Africa, abandoned by the smugglers who brought them into England, so while the Cornwall countryside is being scoured for the family, Eleanor herself descends into a dangerous den of smugglers in a desperate search to find the man responsible while there is still time.
MY THOUGHTS: I quite enjoyed this cosy mystery by Carola Dunn set in Cornwall. I usually prefer my reading somewhat darker, but I am a sucker for anything set in Cornwall. And while this may be classed as a ‘cosy’, it is not at all twee, like I have found some of them to be.
I enjoyed Eleanor’s character, and the mystery is a good solid one. Plot development is steady, and the characters are well rounded. I would read more of this series, although I have tried another of this author’s books and didn’t find it particularly satisfying.
THE AUTHOR: Carola Dunn is the author of more than 30 Regency romances, as well as 16 mysteries (the Daisy Dalrymple mystery series is set in England in the 1920s). Ms. Dunn was born and grew up in England, where she got a B.A. in Russian and French from Manchester University. She travelled as far as Fiji before returning to settle in California. After 30 years in the US, she says she still sounds as if she arrived a month ago.
Prior to writing, Ms. Dunn’s various jobs included market research, child-care, construction–from foundation trenches to roofing–and writing definitions for a dictionary of science and technology. She wrote her first novel in 1979, a Regency which she sold to Warner Books.
Now living in Eugene, Oregon, Ms. Dunn has a son in California who has just made her a grandmother, and a large black dog named Willow who takes her for a walk by the Willamette River each morning.
DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook version of Valley of the Shadow by Carola Dunn, narrated by Wanda McCaddon and published by Blackstone Audio, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page, or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This and other reviews are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2796767434?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1