Robert Thorogood career can be called meteoric. That is, if you can imagine that a meteor can defy gravity and shoot upwards into the universe. Thorogood wrote scrips, but became used to getting negative replies. His luck turned in 2011, when 'Death in Paradise', based on his scripts, was first broadcasted to much acclaim. What followed was a contract to write thrillers based on Richard Poole, the detective who was like a fish out of the water.
'Death Knocks Twice' is the third thriller in the series to be published. The story revolves around a coffee plantation, where the body a man was discovered in a locked shed. He appears to have committed suicide. As most of the episodes of 'Death in Paradise' are locked-room-mysteries, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Poole and his team inevitably come to the conclusion that the man must have been murdered, but how could the killer have escaped?.
Robert Thorogood's writing has been compared to that of Agatha Christie, the Grande Dame of thrillers. So, how good is 'Death Knocks Twice'? Not so good, I'm afraid. While reading I had the distinct feeling that Thorogood changed his mind halfway as to who the killer would be. The plot is so jumbled that he needed some 60 pages to let DI Richard Poole explain the murder. In essence, the story could have been so much more elegant.
And, as other reviewers have mentioned, the book is filled with Richard Poole saying 'What's that?' (and some similar words). The frequent use of those words became very irritating and led me to believe that there are two possibilities: the first is that Poole is gradually becoming deaf, while the second is that Thorogood padded his word count because he felt that the manuscript would lack substance.
But most of all, I missed the fun, the quirky sense of humour that was so prevalent in the first two books. It seemed as if Thorogood now feels that writing has become a tedious job.
This review has also been published on amazon.co.uk