Murder in the Caribbean (2018) by Robert Thorogood

I did wonder if I would cause some kind of readers’ revolt by returning to the Death in Paradise series for the third time in the same month, but as my husband reminded me, my blog is about reading what I love and currently the Death in Paradise series definitely meets that criterion. That said I think a more original title could have been picked. It is a bit like if there was an Inspector Maigret mystery called Murder in France. The beagle eyed readers among you will have noticed that I am reviewing the fourth novel in the Death in Paradise series. The simple reason for that is that third book is still in the post. Fortunately this is a series that you can read out of order, which is fortunate given that my order is: 2nd, 1st, 4th and then 3rd.

Cover for Thorogood's Murder in the Caribbean. It depicts a Caribbean beach with an abandoned wooden boat on the sand.


‘DI Richard Poole is hot, bothered and fed up. He’s stuck on the tropical island of Saint-Marie, forced to live in a rickety old shack on a beach, and there isn’t a decent cup of tea to be found anywhere. When a boat explodes in the harbour, Richard and his team soon realise there’s a new murderer on the loose. But who is it? And why did the killer leave behind a ruby at the scene of the crime? As the police dig deeper, they uncover secrets that go back decades, and a crime from the past that can never be forgiven. Worse still, they soon realise this is only the beginning. They’ve got to catch the killer before there’s another death in paradise…’

Overall Thoughts

One of the advantages of ploughing through a series over a short space of time is that it is easier to notice any changes in style. Murder in the Caribbean from the get-go deviates from the pattern established in books one and two in this series. Firstly, the prologue is only two pages long and is a first-person narrative, presumably from a killer telling their story. The writing in this section and the subsequent ones with same narrator felt quite generic. It is the type of section which could be fitted into many other crime fiction series. Comparing this one to the prologues from books one and two, I prefer the earlier books’ style, which makes more use of embedding early clues, plus swiftly introducing the victim before they die. This death is usually juxtaposed with Richard Poole’s latest acclimatising woe, as he fails to cope with the Caribbean environment.

Instead, book four initially focuses upon a different series character in chapter one, starting with Dwayne (one of Poole’s subordinates) who is at home. However, it does not take long for Poole to emerge as he is staking out Dwayne’s house, since he is suspicious of his desire to take his sergeant’s exam. Richard Poole thinks he is using the study period allowed to lie in and not work. This develops into a comic subplot which threads throughout the narrative, and I think Thorogood makes good use of these subplots in each of the books that I have read, as they complement the main storyline well. It is when Poole is hot and flustered after being placed in an embarrassing situation that the harbour explosion occurs in book 4. I think this was well-timed, producing a dark comic effect. Nevertheless, this crime feels different to the ones presented in books one and two. There is no run up to the murder to flag possible suspects and the crime scene is far more fluid (in more ways than one) and less fixed, more time is needed to figure out what has occurred. I would also say this is a more sombre crime and this is borne out in the way the explosion was prepped to happen. It just feels darker somehow. Yet true to form Poole uncovers some unusual clues which makes this case more bizarre and baffling and he still gets an odd crime scene item to obsess over – this time it is mystery gravel. Even though this story has its darker elements, it is not a bleak tale, and it still retains the humour of the previous books, particularly in the character of Poole: ‘Richard decided that the time for half measures was over. He took his jacket off. He then realised he felt all wrong, so he put his jacket back and did the front button up as he went to look at the whiteboard.’


Ersyrpgvat ba guvf abiry V guvax vg vf snve gb fnl gung Gubebtbbq obeebjf gur aneengvir grzcyngr gung Puevfgvr hfrq va Gur NOP Zheqref (1936). Yvxr Puevfgvr ur znxrf uvf fgbel ybbx yvxr na vairegrq zlfgrel guevyyre va juvpu gur cbyvpr unir gb genpx qbja bar zna naq gel gb cerirag shegure xvyyvatf, jura va ernyvgl guvf zna vf gur gehr zheqrere’f fpncrtbng. Bar qvssrerapr orgjrra Puevfgvr’f zlfgrel naq Gubebtbbq’f vf gung gur fpncrtbng vf pubfra sbe eriratr checbfrf naq orpnhfr gur fpncrtbng frrzvatyl unf fhpu n tbbq zbgvir sbe xvyyvat gur bgure ivpgvzf.

Guvf vf n qvssrerag glcr bs zlfgrel sbe Cbbyr naq uvf grnz gb fbyir, nf gur angher bs gur vairfgvtngvba vf zber guevyyre yvxr – gur cbyvpr ernpgvat engure guna cer-rzcgvat gur xvyyre sbe zbfg bs gur pnfr. Gur ohttvat qrivpr juvpu ranoyrf gur xvyyre gb xrrc bar fgrc nurnq vf fbzrguvat V sbhaq yrff fngvfslvat, ohg vg vf hfrshy va oybjvat gur pnfr jvqr bcra. Cbbyr nyfb unf gb frg n Zvff Znecyr yvxr genc gb pncgher gur xvyyre, nygubhtu ur qbrf unir zber rivqrapr naq pyhrf guna Zvff Znecyr hfhnyyl qbrf. Guvf vf nabgure jnl va juvpu obbx sbhe qrivngrf sebz obbxf bar naq gjb, va juvpu gencf ner abg arrqrq. Svqry’f gurbel jnf zl svefg vqrn, juvpu V trarengrq fbba nsgre gur svefg zheqre, ohg V unq n anttvat srryvat nobhg gur jbzna jub cubarq va gur bevtvany gvc bss sbe gur fubbgvat gung gbbx cynpr gjragl lrnef rneyvre. Guvf yrq gb zl frpbaq gurbel, juvpu ghearq bhg gb or pbeerpg. N erprag GI ivrjvat cnenyyry urycrq zr jvgu guvf frpbaq gurbel.


This is the darkest book of the three that I have read, but the author manages to end on a genuinely heart-warming note, which is further proof that a puzzle plot and strong characterisation can occur in the same story. I hope my copy of the third book turns up soon. It is a big shame that Thorogood seems to have stopped writing these books.

Rating: 4.25/5


    • That is true and it has to be said that it has been a while since I have been so keen to keep returning to a series. But something about the Death in Paradise series just works for me at the moment.


  1. “I did wonder if I would cause some kind of readers’ revolt by returning to the Death in Paradise series for the third time in the same month”

    I understand this entirely, I felt the same way when I started covering multi-media mysteries (TV, video games, comics, etc.) so heavily! …….And my readership has absolutely fallen off, but I think people will be more forgiving of your DiP reviews! 😛

    This is a great review, ACR! Thanks for sharing, I’m glad you enjoyed this book, I do plan to read it on your recommendation as soon as possible! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the reviewand I hope you enjoy the book. It is a different case type for the team to solve, so is less a howdunnit. A Meditation in Murder, the first book, is much more a howdunnit. I would not be surprised if you solved Murder in the Caribbean but I don’t think that detracts from the reading experience in the way it might with other mysteries.


  2. Yes, it’s fair to say that I’ve returned over and over again to certain authors on my blog – Paul Doherty, Michael Jecks, Brian Flynn – in a far greater concentration than this. I think I did a whole month of Paul Doherty back in… checks… September 2011 with nine books. So you’ve got some way to go before you become a true obsessive…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.