Friday, July 26, 2013

Mist on the Saltings: Mini-Review

Mist on the Saltings by Henry Wade follows the relationships in a small seaside community in post-World War II Britain.  Most of the folks in Bryde-by-the-Sea are leading a very impoverished
life as a result of the war--from the struggling artist and his wife to the fishermen who are seeing their livelihood taken over by bigger fishing companies.  Into their midst comes an arrogant and successful author--a man who has no money worries and takes his pleasure where he will...including with other men's wives.

My experiences with Henry Wade's mystery novels have been very good. He is generally an excellent plotter and very strong on characterization and providing a clear sense of place.  And I have especially enjoyed his police detectives.  This novel seems to be a bit of a departure for Wade--although his characterization and scene-building are just as strong.  While billed as a classic British mystery, it could easily stand as a straight fiction novel alongside the likes of D.H. Lawrence.  The tension in the book is primarily from the relationships and the circumstances of the characters and has very little to do with the murder itself.  The investigation of the murder seems almost an afterthought and that may be why detectives in this novel have left so little impression on me.  

It shouldn't be difficult for the reader to know who did it...and even why.  The small red herring which is dragged across the path won't distract for long...if at all.  Overall, a strong story of life and relationships in Britain after World War II.  Not such a strong showing as a mystery novel.  Three stars.


TracyK said...

Even though you were not so happy with this novel, this makes me want to try out some mysteries by this author. Especially any involving policemen. Nice review.

Bev Hankins said...

TracyK: The novel is fine....I just wish it hadn't been billed as a British mystery. While there is a mystery, it works better as straight fiction.