EXCERPT: A news summary takes us to the coast of East Devon where, it seems, something rather bizarre has happened. The studio presenter throws to a reporter airborne in a helicopter. He bellows something I can’t quite understand and then the camera pans to reveal a vast scar in the cliff face. This stretch of coast, the reporter tells us, is notorious for cliff falls and this one has happened overnight, thousands of tons of rock and soil deposited on the beach. I’m staring at the screen, at the shape of the cliffs. The colour is the giveaway, a rich ochre, pinking the waves that curl onto the beach. Budleigh Salterton, I think. Just where the coastal path runs beside the golf course.
But the cameraman hasn’t finished. He’s tightening the shot, until all I can see is a close-up of the rubble at the foot of the cliff. At first, I can’t make sense of the object in the very middle of the picture. It’s oblong, probably man-made. It looks like a long box, and as the cameraman tweaks the focus, I’m guessing it once had a lid. Then, as the shot tightens even further, I feel the blood in my veins begin to ice. It’s not a box at all, it’s a coffin. And the shrouded object inside, a grubby white, is a body.
ABOUT ‘LIMELIGHT’: Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.
Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land . . .
MY THOUGHTS: I liked but didn’t love this mystery with its strong characters and which addresses the topic of assisted death, or euthanasia. Please note: this is not a thriller. And anyone going into this book expecting a thriller will be disappointed.
Limelight is a slow burn, sort of mystery. It is one of those books that really doesn’t fit into any particular category. It is topical, but I never became fully invested. It is a story that is told, rather than experienced, and I found some of the devices used in order to make this work a bit of a stretch to believe.
I liked the way both sides of the argument on assisted dying are aired, and also that we are provided with comprehensive information on MND.
This is #4 in a series and, while I haven’t read any of the previous books, I don’t think that this impacted on my enjoyment. Limelight is easily read as a standalone and, although some incidents in previous books are referred to, they don’t impact on this story, and previous relationships are explained.
‘Life is a loan…..it comes with strings attached, duties, obligations, responsibilities. One of them is not to waste it.’
THE AUTHOR: Graham Hurley was born November, 1946 in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. His seaside childhood was punctuated by football, swimming, afternoons on the dodgems, run-ins with the police, multiple raids on the local library – plus near-total immersion in English post-war movies.
He is married to the delectable Lin, has three grown-up sons (Tom, Jack and Woody), plus a corking grandson Dylan.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Limelight by Graham Hurley for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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