Book Review – Swimming With Sharks by Anna Legat

First published, 2016

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Really enjoyed this, the first of the DI Gillian Marsh Mysteries.

The story centres on forty-something Nicola Eagles, a shy and retiring type, who comes into money, decides to be brave, and takes a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to the Maldives. She feels uncomfortable and conspicuous as a lone female surrounded by couples on honeymoon, and enjoying romantic getaways.

However, when she meets, and rapidly falls in love with, another holidaymaker, everything in her life seems destined and wonderful. Until, that is, Nicola disappears without a trace.

Back in Somerset, Gillian Marsh is worried to distraction about her eighteen-year-old daughter, when Nicola’s missing person’s case comes across her desk.

The writing is beautiful, well-crafted and engaging. The characters are believable and wonderfully well-observed. I enjoyed the overall story, especially the key relationships in the lives of these two women.

I’ll not spoil it for you but when, quite suddenly, the missing persons’ investigation began, I was honestly worried for Nicola because her disappearance was so sudden and so total. I could see no way that anyone but the reader would notice she wasn’t there anymore. Perhaps it says something for how noticeable all of us are, even when we think we aren’t.

Although the ending was well-constructed and heartfelt, it left me a little deflated. I’m fond of the red-herring. I don’t mind having my suppositions thrown back at me. However, as much as I was wrong about who-actually-dunit (and I was wrong in three different directions; I’m very bad at guessing whodunit), I really don’t think there’s any way I could have been right.

All in all, a beautifully-written novel, with rich imagery, great characters and a lot of pathos. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.