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Mystery Monday Review – High Tide

High Tide by P. M. Hubbard

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

This 1971 suspense novel was the writer’s tenth novel so it reads like the work of a confident, experienced writer that knows exactly how he wants to tell the story.

Peter Curtis is our first-person narrator. A cultured guy but not an intellectual, Peter hints that he is big and strong enough to be a commando but never dared take the training because he feared with violent skills coupled with his temper he’d be a danger to himself and others. He can usually keep his temper in “dingy kennel” of his mind but when provoked he’s not beyond killing. In fact, the novel opens upon his release from the Big House where he was sentenced to four years for accidentally killing a guy with his bare hands.

The provocation? The vic ran over Curtis’ Labrador.

Curtis does not face the money problems we assume an ex-con would have. So with the dream of buying a sailing boat to cruise the west coast of the Sceptered Isle for a couple of months, he’s driving in the south of England by night and sleeping by day in cheap hotels.

The plot twists when Curtis meets a henchman of the man he killed over the Labby. Then Curtis gets the feeling he is being followed. After adventures with a mysterious girl, Curtis ends up on a Cornish coastal town. Near a hiply designed but deserted farmhouse, he also meets the personification of “still waters run deep” in the form of the wife of a local novelist who writes nautical stories like Patrick O’Brian.

Hubbard also published poetry so he has a keen ear for sounds and a keen eye for details. He effectively evokes the dreary town of Leremouth, with its relentless tides and hazardous quicksand. As a Great Lakes guy, I can recommend this novel as a fine example of the nautical mystery, as enjoyable as Down among the Dead Men by Patricia Moyes, The Sailcloth Shroud by Charles Williams or the immortal The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers.







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