Dead in the Water
by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards
Bastei Entertainment (e-book)

Dead in the Water is an intriguing venture. The product of a transatlantic writing partnership between Yankee Matthew Costello and Britisher Neil Richards, it is an e-book-only crime novel set in the bucolic English village of Cherringham.

It features the amiable (and also transatlantic) detective pairing of retired New York cop Jack Brennan and smart, younger, single mother Sarah Edwards. Brennan is like Miami Vice’s Crockett reimagined by Agatha Christie: he lives on a houseboat, although not with an alligator but a raggedy dog. After a spell back in the States, Brennan returns to help Edwards investigate the death, either by drugs or suicide, of a young teacher, Josh Owen.

The plot satisfies, but what really elevates the story is Edwards, who convincingly struggles to balance work, life, mortgage and Sherlocking around the idyllic countryside. Charm in an e-book.