Journalists, especially freelance ones, make good amateur detectives.
The unconventional nature of their job means they are not tied to the same nine-to-five routine of more ordinary mortals and can fit their sleuthing around their work.
And, as journalists, they’re used to poking and prying and digging for facts.
They’re pretty good too – or should be – at picking up things that don’t quite add up.
Certainly, Nick Potterton, hero of Andrew Bibby’s Lake District murder mystery In the Cold of the Night, is a case in point.
His journalistic curiosity, combined with a nose for a scoop, compels him to investigate when the naked body of Richard Meade is found on the slopes of Scafell Pike.
It quickly becomes clear that Meade’s personal and business life are less than squeaky clean.
Which begs the question: was his death accidental or deliberate?
Bibby, like his hero, an experienced national newspaper journalist, writes with confidence and assurance.
And the beautiful Lakeland setting adds an interesting dimension – who knew, for instance, that someone suffering from hypothermia could become so disorientated they begin to strip off?
Befuddled with cold
So was Meade forced to undress and left to freeze to death in the driving rain?
Or, befuddled with cold, did he take his clothes off voluntarily?
This is a well-plotted whodunit with enough plot twists to keep the pages turning.
The regional newspaper backdrop – and the death of local news – worked well.
But the real stars of this novel are the gorgeous high Lake District fells.
And as journalist Nick unravels the mystery, he unearths a greater truth: nature can be cruel.
Especially if given a helping hand by people.
Review by Sue Featherstone.
About the author: Andrew Bibby is a journalist, writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent and other national papers.
He is the author of several non-fiction books about northern England landscapes, including the walking guide The Backbone of England.
A fell runner, Bibby has completed many of the classic Lakeland fell races, including the Joss Naylor challenge, and, before writing In the Cold of the NIght, spent some time with mountain rescue teams learning about how they work.
He’s donating a percentage of all his sales fees to the Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team.
The publishers, Gritstone Publishing, are also reissuing Bibby’s previous Lakeland crime novel in a companion volume to In the Cold.
The Bad Step, another murder story set this time above the Langdale valley on the mountain ridge called the Crinkle Crags, has previously been available only on Kindle.