North Sea Rising by R.M. Cartmel

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I am delighted to be a stop in #RandomThingsTours ‘s North Sea Rising Blog Tour.

Here is the book blurb:

The year is 2039. The setting is the British Isles – but not the British Isles as we know them today. The brutal economic impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, together with the ever-accelerating effects of global warming have led to a very different environment indeed, in almost every way. Politics, geography and technology are all in flux.

But some things remain the same – greed, murder, conspiracy and corruption among them. When Stephanie Flack, licensed private eye in the Royal Province of Anglia, is asked to track down some missing diamonds, she soon finds the trail leading her into some very unexpected and highly dangerous places, with dead bodies appearing with alarming regularity. Including, very nearly, her own.

R.M. Cartmel’s skilful characterisation, sharp observation and quiet irony provide a glimpse into a future which we can almost recognise. A brilliant, gentle, wry dystopian murder mystery.

An extract from the book:

unnamedMy meeting with Jerzy had reminded that I had promised Sabrina that I was going out to get some more coffee for the office. There was absolutely no way that I would put up with instant coffee powder, whatever the kids would let past their lips.
I strapped myself in – very securely – gave the pod the postcode of my home and crossed my fingers that it got there in as few pieces as possible…
… It was a mere hundred yards on Thorpe Road before the pod turned off it again, but there were very few bumps left before the pod pulled up and meeped at me. ‘You have arrived at your destination on the left,’ it announced in a vaguely metallic but nonetheless female tone.
I pulled the curtain back to look out before I pressed the door release button. I would hate to step into a passing neighbour when getting out of a pod. I looked through the front screen down the hill in front of me. I didn’t think the water level had changed much recently, but I had no idea what effect the new snowfall would have on it, especially as the grit that was coming down with it would be unlikely to evaporate off. I still felt uncomfortable looking at the roofs of the houses appearing out of the river in front of me. The water level had been much lower than it was now when I first moved into the house. There were moments when I wondered whether the water level would ever stop its inexorable climb up the street. Still, if it got to my front door it would also be embarrassing the Cathedral and even the steps of the Town Hall. So, hopefully, by then the Anglian Government would have invested in further flood defences, the lack of which had triggered the Anglian Independence Movement in the first place. I am not sure the English can still believe the success we Anglians have made of our ten years of independence. In the absence of any flood defences whatsoever, the sea level at my front door would be as high as it had been since Roman times, when the land that is now urban Peterborough had been an uncultivated swamp. I walked up the front steps and tapped the pad on the front door. It thought about it for a moment, coughed, and then obligingly opened. ‘It’s only me, Mrs. Grubbs,’ I called out cheerily as I walked in. ‘Morning, Steff,’ she replied from the kitchen without coming through, so I wandered in to join her. ‘You’re back early.’ I reached up and grabbed a pressed cube of coffee beans from the larder cupboard and remarked that we needed some at the office. Mrs. Grubbs looked up at me, smiled, and said,

‘Are you still going to that thing in the library this evening?’

‘As far as I know, but I’ll let you know if things change,’ I replied. It must have been seriously irritating for Mrs. G. not to know who was going to be in for supper in the evening but she never betrayed the slightest annoyance to either of us. I pottered back out of the front door to the pod, which was still there, obediently waiting for its master’s return. I could almost picture it wagging its rear windscreen wiper at me. I strapped myself in and asked it to take me the several hundred yards back to my office. I would hate to have been mugged for a small pack of coffee.

Happy Reading!

 

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