CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Review: Death in Devon by Ian Sanso

PUBLISHED: 14:52 26 May 2015 | UPDATED: 14:52 26 May 2015

Death in Devon Book Cover

Death in Devon Book Cover


Annette Shaw reviews Death in Devon by Ian Sanso

Ian SansoIan Sanso

Published by 4th Estate. Hardback £12.99


The biggest regret is that this book was not read whilst reclining in a deck chair, on a terrace, at one of the grand hotels over looking Sidmouth. A jug of Pimms to hand. Death in Devon is the second in The County Guides series whereby The People’s Professor, Swanton Morley, his daughter Miriam and assistant Stephen Sefton, drive off in a Lagonda and find themselves solving a murder. Set in the 1930’s, it’s a spectacular meander based in Rousdon and thoroughly enjoyable. Added to which, it takes a steady nerve as a writer to combine cream teas, surfing and spot of Satanism.

“Swanton Morley, the People’s Professor and potential rival to Miss Marple, is loosely based on a real life character by the name of Arthur Mee,” says Ian Sansom, author of The County Guides series. “Arthur was a fascinating man. Born in 1875 he became a journalist of note in London. He believed knowledge is power and is probably best known for writing The Children’s Encyclopaedia.” Remaining true to this remarkable real life character, Ian’s text is peppered with wisdom and thoughtful phrases such as, “May you never meet a mouse in your pantry with tears in his eyes.”

Each of The County Guides has a particular domain and Ian found that the former school at Rousdon with its own beach fitted the bill perfectly. In the book Morley has been invited to give the Founder’s Day speech at All Souls but when the trio arrive they discover that a boy has died in mysterious circumstances. Was it an accident or was it – murder?

In time, Ian plans to write 43 County Guides and explains why the second book is based in Devon. “As a child, my memories of childhood holidays were of Essex, in part, a landscape best described as bleak with a power station. Then I discovered Devon. A group of us rented a remote cottage and the beauty of the county, the beaches and the closeness of good friends stayed with me.”

Ian writes for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. He is the author of nine books including Paper: An Elegy, Mr Dixon Disappears, The Delegates Choice and The Bad Book Affair, some of the instalments of The Mobile Library series.

More from People

Friday, December 7, 2018

Devon Life received this heartfelt letter from Mr Michael Thompson, of Torbay, which is felt particularly poignant to share with our website audience at this time of year

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bursting with festive inspiration, KATE WILLIAMS seeks out the best presents for a perfect Devon Christmas

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon has had more than its fair share of high achievers over the years but how well do you know our county’s singers, authors, sportspeople, explorers and TV personalities? This is an edited version of a quiz compiled by MARGARET BRECKNELL in the December 2018 issue of Devon Life

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

PHILIP DALLING recalls two Exmoor legends who shared a deep love of the moor and its natural resources, and gained national fame through the media

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the month when we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, STEVE ROBERTS highlights the terrible cost in human lives it inflicted on the county of Devon

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Actor Tom Burke talks to JUDI SPIERS about his production of Don Carlos staged by his own theatre company Ara, in association with Exeter’s Northcott Theatre

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

In the latest in her series throughout 2018 profiling inspirational women, KATE HASKELL talks to England Women’s Cricket Captain, Heather Knight

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

There is more to Georgia Toffolo than an award-winning TV show, as HOLLY EELLS discovers

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Striving to be the best in the world, homegrown Devon professional squash player Lyell Fuller is seeking sponsorship to help reach his goal. KATE WILLAMS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tavistock Rugby Club in Devon is celebrating after being awarded a grant of £2,500 to fund private showers for referees at their Sandy Park ground, as part of rural energy provider Calor’s annual funding scheme

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Devon’s Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, also known as The Black Farmer, tells KATE WILLIAMS about his new book, Jeopardy, encouraging the embracing of risk to enrich life

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As five members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton celebrate 125 years of collective volunteering, we look back on their time with the organisation

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

CAROLYN SEAGER reveals how long after her mother’s death she discovered her amazing career in the service of her country

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An author known for her novels depicting life on the Channel Islands is nonetheless happiest writing from home here in Devon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search