When I read the first book in this series of mysteries set on the Scilly Isles (Hell Bay), I fell in love with DI Ben Kitto - so I was eager to read Ruin Beach as soon as I saw it!
Although a native of the islands, Ben's career was based in London until the death of his partner forced him to transfer back home - along with his partner's dog, Shadow, a Czechoslovakian wolfdog. In this story Ben is investigating the death of professional diver, Jude Trellion, who has been found deliberately tied to a cliff.
I love these stories because of the characters: Ben, his enthusiastic if rather naive sidekick Eddie, and the disloyal Shadow - who will go off with anyone who feeds him! The books have a terrific sense of place; the Scilly Isles are so brilliantly described they are practically a character themselves and make me long to visit. I love history, so I found all the legends of the shipwrecks around the islands fascinating, and the parts about diving were well-researched and sounded authentic. Running alongside the main plot is also the story of a character who knows why Jude was killed, putting them firmly in the sights of the murder. This gives the book a thriller-like edge, leading to a nail-biting finish.
The only negative for me, as for the first book, is the character of Ben's boss, although he does seem to be gradually warming up to him!
I loved Ruin Beach; it's my favourite of the series so far and I'm thoroughly looking forward to the next one, Burnt Island, due to be released in 2019.
Recommended to anyone who loves traditional murder mysteries, and authors such as Ann Cleeves, Elly Griffiths, and Caroline Graham.