Desert Isle Keeper
Blow Down is another delightful, witty episode in the lives of Tom Paretski, the slightly psychic plumber, and his new fiancé, P.I. Phil Morrison.
Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.
I loved this murder mystery and devoured its character driven plot with glee. J.L. Merrow’s observations on the quirks of English life and local inhabitants are spot on, even though they’re sometimes exaggerated for comic effect. This time, the novel concentrates on Tom and Phil acclimatising to the idea of marriage and commitment – at different rates. Their thoughts and lives are interrupted when an acquaintance of Tom’s sister Cherry (and favourite of the Bishop) Amelia Fenchurch-Major, asks Tom for his psychic assistance in finding a valuable necklace.
Since Tom’s heroic rescue during a fire at his local Pub in Heat Trap, he has become something of a celebrity and everyone wants to take advantage of his psychic skills.
Although initially, the search for Amelia’s necklace leads to nothing but awkwardness for Tom – he is coerced into ‘helping’ at the upcoming Harvest Fayre – Phil and Tom arrive at the fayre expecting to help out at the Beer tent or Tombola. So they are horrified to discover that Amelia has decided he should put on a display of his ability to sense and find things in the centre ring. Things go from bad to worse when Tom manages to stumble over a dead body.
Add to this mystery a host of suspects, complicated family situations for both Phil and Tom, a gaggle of hysterically funny secondary characters, and a murderer who thinks Tom knows too much… and it seems that life is plotting to keep their lives from being plain sailing again. Tom and Phil must decide if marriage and living together is what they both want.
This novel is written and should be read with one’s tongue stuck firmly in one’s cheek. The plot has a definite feel of Agatha Christie about it; there’s an element of farce that comes from all the running around and changes in setting, plus a Bishop and a Vicar who loves taxidermy.
J.L. Merrow’s ‘warning’ sums the book up beautifully –
Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.
This is the fourth in the series, and although it can be read as a standalone, a lot of in-jokes and references would be lost. Besides, the series is so funny and enjoyable why just read one?