Kate Rhodes

Ruin Beach

"This series is going from strength to strength."


Local diver, Jude Trellon, is found dead on the rocks close to a notorious cave, Piper's Hole. At first, this looks like a diving death, but soon Kitto realises he is looking at murder. A message has been attached to the dead woman, words from an old sea shanty, and an ancient Roman artefact has been pushed violently down her throat, choking her.

Jude Trellon's death sends shock-waves through the community. She was a beautiful and charismatic woman, but one who also made enemies and one who was prone to risky behaviour, such as diving in the dangerous Piper's Hole. Why was Jude diving there that night? Does this have anything to do with her death, or is the cause more mundane – problems in her relationship with her Swedish husband, marine researcher Ivar, her stormy relationship with her brother, or the resentment of her ex-lover whom she left for the man she is now married to.

Or is the murder linked to valuable finds made when Jude was out diving. There have been rumours for years of a Roman wreck under the seas around the islands. Has Jude located this? The appearance of previously unknown artefacts suggests this may be the case. This would be a secret worth killing for.

Kitto realises quickly that Jude Trellon is not the only victim of this killer and may not be the last. He has to work fast if he is to prevent further deaths, and in this he is hampered by his boss, the bureaucratic and controlling DCI Madron who finds Kitto's independence hard to stomach.

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Ruin Beach' is the second in Ben Kitto series, set on the Scilly Isles. Kitto, now Deputy Police Chief in the small, island community, is coming to terms with a life that is very different from the one he lived before. Rhodes handles her complex plot well, and peoples it with vivid characters, ranging from very likeable to deeply unpleasant, but all presented as rounded figures with convincing motivations for behaving the way they do. Even the infuriating Madron has a believable rationale behind his behaviour. The star of these books is undoubtedly the location which is beautifully evoked by Rhodes' writing. This is not to detract from the intricate plotting and narrative impetus that make Ruin Beach a real page turner with some truly heart-stopping moments as Kitto fights against time to solve the mystery. The answer, when it arrives, is satisfactorily surprising. This series is going from strength to strength. Ben Kitto is a character with great potential for development and the beautiful, sinister and sometimes claustrophobic Scilly Isles offer a stage upon which Rhodes will (I hope) weave some more remarkable tales.

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