Rosie’s #BookReview of 1970s #Mystery THE SHY AVENGER by Geoffrey Scardthomas

The Shy Avenger by Geoffrey Scardthomas

3 stars

The Shy Avenger is a mystery set in the Hampshire countryside during the 1970s. It surrounds a local myth about John The Red, a deadly snake. The first stories about John came from the 1940s, but the current inhabitants of Yewhurst are about to discover that John has returned and is back to his old habits.

What I liked about the story:

  • The 1970s setting was full of nostalgic detail of the era.
  • I quite like reading books that are local to me; I live in Hampshire so some of the place names were very familiar.
  • There’s a lovely dog called Fly who has an important role, and I also liked Fly’s owner; he’s a quiet man with a few secrets of his own.

What didn’t work for me:

  • The story is slow and drawn out; there is quite a lot of unnecessary bulk which could be removed with further editing.
  • I don’t know much about snakes, but I was unconvinced about some of the storyline threads.
  • There are a lot of characters and I wanted them to be a little more rounded to make them memorable.

Overall, I think the story has some potential as an historical mystery, but it fell short on creative writing techniques suitable for today’s reader.