“A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple’s motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder. Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth. This gripping first novel concerning a death in a remote Kentish country cottage is packed with mystery, suspense and occasional touches of humour.”
Set in modern day Britain, Smile of the Stowaway challenges the moral dilemma of what you would do if you accidentally brought an illegal immigrant into the country. The decisions you might make, the lengths you might go to in order to offer them protection and the conversations you would have behind closed doors. This is the scenario facing Bob and Anne when they find Yusuf, an illegal immigrant, standing on their driveway having entered the country on the underside of their motorhome. The challenge continues as he is suspected of a brutal murder and they race against the clock and push aside assumptions to discover the truth.
Tony Bassett provides a well paced, good story line that pulls you in and the light conversational exchange between characters makes this novel an easy read. The main characters are consistent and through the choices they make audience perspectives are confounded. Minor characters are woven through the narrative nicely and side stories are dealt with well, adding interest and depth to the novel.
It felt at times that some of the detail was superfluous. I wondered if additional information would be pulled in again later in the story, but largely it wasn’t. This seemed like a missed opportunity to provide the reader with a chance to piece together parts of the murder and draw their conclusions from this information or throw a red herring or two in the mix.
Overall though Smile of the Stowaway is an interesting and heart-warming story about human nature, belief in others and kindness. This novel will appeal to anyone interested in crime fiction, or those who like to challenge their perceptions of what they might do in an unusual and difficult situation.
Where can you buy a copy?
More about the author:
Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years. He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.
Giveaway to Win 6 x PB copies of Smile of the Stowaway (Open INT)
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N.B. Thank you so much to Tony Bassett for gifting me a copy of his book for this review, and to Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog book tour. All thoughts are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure page.