Wow, it is with great delight that I have finished this book and nothing could stop me from leaving a review. This is the fourth novel in this detective series that owes a great deal to Ian Simpson's background in law and his love of St Andrews and golf.
Each book has slowly developed his characters and I think it is no co-incident that having become settled and comfortable with his characters the author has produced his best book to date.
His writing has always been sharp, character driven with strong and engaging plots. In a crowded market he has finally found a secure niche and is worthy of all his plaudits. His talent has always been there, a good listener to reproduce believable dialogue, an understanding of people and the times they err and humanity spills over into criminality. But the journey to publication for a writer even with qualities like Ian is a long and difficult trudge. I can sense it had many dark hours and fallow times but I am overjoyed that on the evidence of Murder in the Fourth Round he has earned his stripes and deserves to be recognised as the exceptional author he is today.
I'm sure his alter ego is Noel Osbourne and therefore he may accept this tag. "The clapped-out old dinosaur had recovered his mojo."
Long may this vein of talent be mined by your pen.
This isn't a story about golf, just the scene of the murder that sets the whole story into play. However, it is a fitting tribute to one of the best golfers of his generation or in times to come.
I loved the working of the police team as led by Flick a modern career minded woman. It roots the story well as has room for many divergences and ideas.
However the star of the novel in terms of a character so non pc and incompetent is retired inspector No - Noel Osbourne who leers at women, scratches his crotch inappropriately, thinks he's great while belching and breaking wind indiscriminately. He finds a new version of himself in this book and for fans like me it is hoped he will trick himself into another investigation bringing chaos and humour into the story.
I would urge you to read this brilliant book then find the earlier novels to be able to match the smile that has spread across my face.
by Richard Latham
Since retiring from a law career which included sitting as a judge in High Court murder trials, Ian Simpson has been writing crime fiction. In 2008 one of his books was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger by the Crime Writers' Association. He has also written newspaper articles on legal topics.