I think I was expecting a little more of Norton’s quirky and witty personality to shine through in the story. It does have its moments where you can almost hear the sarcasm dripping off of the pages, however it isn’t enough to give this cosy mystery the jump start it really needs.
It isn’t really all that mysterious either. It is fairly easy to figure out the whodunnit and the why. I think the real emphasis is on the small town mentality, lifestyle and general essence of a small community. Everyone knows everyone else’s business and more importantly they also often know their secrets.
The whole story evolves around the bumbling chubby garda (police officer) in rural south east Ireland. When construction workers find human remains buried in a plot of land, the rumour mill starts grinding very quickly. The general assumption is that the body must belong to young Tommy Burke. Tommy is supposedly living it up somewhere in England.
The truth is not one person has seen or heard from him in the last few decades. All everyone knows is that he high-tailed it out of there after his paramours find out about each other. Did he skedaddle or is it all just a bunch of granny fuelled hyped up gossip? He probably just got bored of small town life and is living it up on the Costa del Sol with a two bit hooker and a cocktail with an umbrella in it.
The reader follows PJ the garda, as he stumbles through the investigation. Part of him hopes the body will be a career maker and the other part of him doesn’t want anyone he knows to be involved. The poor man just can’t seem to catch a break.
I don’t think Norton has quite found his fictional story voice yet. It’s early days, so I do hope he will be able to develop it in the future and combine that with his own particular brand of tale.