Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Crime Fiction of the Isles of Scilly


Here's another entry in my (occasional but hoping to become more frequent) crime fiction by county series. Though the Isles of Scilly form part of the ceremonial county of Cornwall they have a separate local authority which has the status of a county council (source:Wikipedia).

I have recently purchased Hell Bay, which looks to be the first in an excellent new series by Kate Rhodes, and I was intrigued to see what else was set in the Isles of Scilly. Not much it seems! I welcome any additions to my short-list.

[Official blurbs are in italics.]


Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes (Jan. 2018) is set on Bryher.

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time.



The sequel to Hell Bay, Ruin Beach, is out in hardback in January 2019* and looks to be set on Tresco. (*Amazon are listing the kindle version as available on 14 June 2018.)

DI Ben Kitto has become the Scilly Islands’ Deputy Chief of Police. As the island’s lazy summer takes hold, he finds himself missing the excitement of the murder squad in London. But when a body is found anchored to the rocks of a nearby cave, it appears he’s spoken too soon. The island of Tresco, and the deep and murky waters that surround it, hold a dark secret. One that someone seems desperate to uncover . . .


Robert Goddard's Name to a Face, published in 2007 is partially set on the Isles of Scilly.

A sequence of extraordinary events over the past 300 years. A chain of intrigue, deceit, greed and murder.

The loss of H.M.S. Association with all hands in 1707.

An admiralty clerk's secret mission thirty years after.

A fatal accident during a dive to the wreck in 1996.

An expatriate's reluctant return home ten years later. The simple task he has come to accomplish, shown to be anything but. A woman he recognises but cannot identify.

A conspiracy of circumstances that is about to unravel his life. And with it, the past.



And much, much earlier, the Isles of Scilly get their first fictional murder in Andrew Garve's The Riddle of Samson (1954). Samson, (Wikipedia again), is the largest uninhabited island of the Isles of Scilly.

(Cover shown is a 1978 US paperback edition.)

If a man spends a night on an uninhabited island with another man's beautiful wife, the husband is not apt to be pleased about it. Especially when the husband is notoriously jealous and considerably older than his wife ...



There is a non-fiction book: The Life of a Scilly Sergeant by Colin Taylor (2016) which might also be of interest.


Meet Sergeant Colin Taylor, he has been a valuable member of the police force for over 20 years, 5 of which have been spent policing the ‘quiet’ Isles of Scilly, a group of islands off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula.

Colin has made it his purpose to keep the streets of Scilly free from drunk anchor thieves, Balance Board riders and other culprits, mostly drunken, intent on breaking the law. This book is the first hand account of how he did it.

Coupled with his increasingly popular ‘Isle of Scilly Police Force’ Facebook page, this book charts the day to day trials and tribulations of a small-island police officer, told in a perfectly humorous and affectionate way.

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