I was (am) a giant fan of Malliet’s Max Tudor series. I had always been aware of the St. Just series, but had never read one, and I am now a giant fan of this series as well. There are really very few practitioners of the traditional British detective novel working at the moment, and Malliet is one of the best. Her novels are very much golden age in pattern, with a series detective, a fast paced and tidy narrative, and in this case, a setting to die for – the Cornish coast.
Using a trope beloved of novelists from Agatha Christie to Deborah Crombie to Louise Penny, St. Just is on vacation with his fiancée (the wittily named Portia De’Ath – I hope she keeps her maiden name!) Like Crombie’s Duncan and Penny’s Gamache, St. Just seems to be the calm center of the storm. It made it completely believable that the local constabulary would turn to him for advice.