Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rope Enough by Oliver Tidy

First Line: The metronomic wipers beat away at the winter drizzle.

Detective Inspector Romney has the reputation for being difficult on his patch in Dover, England, but newly promoted Detective Sergeant Joy Marsh isn't going to let that bother her. She is determined to do the best possible job she can. 

It's good that she's willing to work hard because on her first day as Romney's sergeant a brutal crime occurs that will test everyone's resolve. It's long hours for all those assigned to this investigation, but only those in control of the budget-- and a few folks waiting at home-- seem to mind.

Rope Enough is a very well-paced, engrossing story that I enjoyed reading. There were just enough twists and turns in the plot to keep me guessing, and I have to admit that one of the things I was wondering about was the title of the book. It reminded me of a certain phrase. Did it mean what I thought it did? Yes, it did, and watching this investigation play out was time well spent.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the excellent job Oliver Tidy did in showing the nuts and bolts of an investigation. In so many police procedurals, we hear of the numbers of policemen assigned to an investigation, but we very seldom ever find out what they're all doing. Tidy lets us know in such a  light-handed way that it doesn't bog down the flow of the narrative.

I also liked the character of Joy Marsh-- what little there was of her. She proves herself to be excellent at picking out stray, disjointed clues and putting them together to get the investigation back on track and moving in the right direction. I can see her going far. What disappointed me was the fact that we got to know very little about what really makes her tick. I want to know more, and I hope this is addressed in future books in the series.

On the other hand, I got to know more about Detective Inspector Romney than I wanted. I didn't find him as difficult as his reputation at first made him appear to be, and I enjoyed watching him be in charge of the investigation. What I thought detracted from the story was the amount of detail given to the new woman in his life and their sex life. It may have spoken to his character, but it really didn't add much to the plot. When I compared what I learned about Romney and the amount of information given about his sergeant, I have to admit that I wondered why the series is called the "Romney and Marsh Files." 

Rope Enough also has a few problems with proofreading and editing. There are sections that need to be tightened, extra words that need to be removed, and annoying little errors like "there're" instead of "they're" and "it's" instead of "its."

While I have pointed out what I think to be weaknesses in the book, it still remains that Oliver Tidy can write a story that keeps me guessing and turning those pages. Characters can be balanced out. Nagging little glitches in grammar and editing can be fixed. But if you can't tell a story that people want to read.... Tidy can tell a story, and he has me wanting to read more.

Rope Enough by Oliver Tidy
Oliver Tidy © 2012
eBook, 236 pages

Police Procedural, #1 Romney and Marsh mystery
Rating: C+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.



  1. I know what you mean, Cathy, about too much detail about some characters, and not enough about others. It's a challenge, I think, to give readers fleshed-out characters and still keep the focus on the mystery. Still, this one does sound as though it has some definite strong points.

  2. Cathy,
    I'm pretty thrilled to see that you read and reviewed my book. (In a rather narcissistic moment I Googled my own name and ended up at your blog, which I'm glad to have discovered.)
    Your review is very fair and encouraging for me. I appreciate your comments about the strengths and weaknesses of this first R&M File and my writing in general. Other readers have also expressed similar reservations for Romney's sex life in this one and the lack of character development of Joy Marsh.
    I've learned a great deal from the feedback and I like to think the following R&M Files are better for it. I'm now working on R&M#5 and like to think that things are going well for Dover CID.
    Best wishes to you and thanks again.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by my humble abode. As I was writing my review of this first book, I did a little research and discovered that you'd written several more. I certainly hope to return to Dover in the near future!

    2. Happy to have found you.
      If and when you get around to another in the series, I look forward to seeing what you make of it.
      Best wishes.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!