Shifting Sands by Pamela St Abbs
I am pleased to be involved in the mini book tour for Shifting Sands by Pamela St Abbs run by Lynsey Adams of Reading between the Lines. The novel is the fourth in the Inspector Campbell Mysteries. You can follow the tour during the week.
When messages of death are sent and two bodies are found on two different Norfolk beaches Inspector Campbell and his team find themselves unravelling a complex case.
Elizabeth Rattagan stood outside the Gull Inn waiting for Gwen to leave the bar.
Gwen staggered out. ‘Do you fancy a swim?’ she asked.
‘You’re drunk,’ said Elizabeth.
‘We could walk down to Banksea Harbour, Lizzy,’ wheedled Gwen.
‘We can walk down but we haven’t got costumes,’ Elizabeth objected.
‘This time of night no-one will know,’ urged Gwen.
Elizabeth was almost persuaded. Some old spark from her past kindled a flame inside her that she hadn’t felt burn for a long time. The urge to swim overcame her inhibitions.
‘There’s that spot by the harbour wall where we can leave our things.’ Gwen waved her hand in the general direction.
Elizabeth recalled the harbour area which was only ever used by a few small sailing boats and for swimming races. It was tempting. ‘Are you sure you can manage, Gwen?’
‘You saved me once.’
‘I’ve not swam in ages. I couldn’t rescue a float now and you are a full-grown woman.’
‘Just teasing, Lizzy. I swim all the time perhaps I can pay you back and rescue you?’
‘I used to be your body for the life-saving certificates.’ Elizabeth laughed. It was strange to hear a happy sound coming from her very own body.
‘And I yours,’ said Gwen. ‘Chilly work even in a heated swimming pool.’
They walked down to the harbour. It was just as Elizabeth remembered it. At night the town lights reflected on the water. They made their way down the slipway, where the small boats were floated in to the water, ignoring the no swimming signs.
‘Don’t remember them being there,’ remarked Gwen.
Elizabeth shrugged her shoulders and started to strip off as she thought they were suitably hidden from view.
They stepped into small cool waves which lapped calmly around them. They swam a couple of circuits of the harbour. Elizabeth found the technique came back to her readily enough, but her muscles were unused to it. Gwen surged ahead.
One of the smaller sailing boats fired up its engine used for getting the vessel in and out of the harbour.
Elizabeth shouted out to Gwen, ‘Watch out,’ fearing that the boat would move into her old friend.
But Gwen had heard the noise herself. She stopped, trod water and looked around. She located the boat and swam back to Elizabeth out of its way.
‘Enough?’ asked Gwen.
‘Enough,’ agreed Elizabeth. Perhaps the cold water had sobered Gwen up, but she wondered whether her friend had been quite as drunk as she’d made out.
Pamela St Abbs lived in Norfolk most of her life. She has always loved Scotland and has now lived there for over ten years. She is married with a grown up daughter and son.
The first Inspector Campbell mystery, Smoke Shadows, was inspired by the scenery Pamela was surrounded by while she was growing up. Water Weal grew from working on the Fens of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Twisting Tide is the third book in the series and features the sandbanks and mud flats of the Wash. She loves to write detective fiction with tense, interesting plots.
Shifting Sands, the fourth Inspector Campbell Mystery is out now in paperback and kindle edition. The wonderful North Norfolk coastline was the background for this tale of duplicity and tenacity.
The pictures are: Pamela St Abbs; a view of St Abbs, which is on the cover of A Short Journey to St Abbs; cover picture for Smoke Shadows, Campbell’s Castle (3 pictures); cover picture for Water Weal; cover picture for Twisting Tide; Binnycraigs in the Snow.
Pamela St Abbs and Mary Bale are one writer. Her Anglo-Norman crime novel, Threads of Treason, is written under the name of Mary Bale. This has been published by Pen and Sword Books.
Pamela St Abbs has also published on kindle a small collection of short stories, A Short Journey to St Abbs, which includes an Inspector Campbell story and a story which was a runner up in a competition judged by Ruth Rendell.
The Norfolk accent frequently uses “hint” instead of “hasn’t” and this is used from time to time in the speech of some of the people in the Inspector Campbell mysteries to give a feeling for their locality.