Slim Hardy is a private investigator. He operates in northern England, doing the kind of work private investigators usually do. Like what he’s doing at the moment – following a man whose wife suspects him of having an affair.
But if it’s an affair, it’s one of the strangest Slim has ever seen. Every Friday afternoon, the man drives to a secluded bay – and speaks Latin poetry to the waves. And this goes on for weeks, until Chris manages to hide a transmitter nearby and tapes what the man is saying. A friend translates the words. The man is trying to exorcise a ghost.
This part of the bay has a reputation. A woman and a young girl both died here over the years, and the expressions on their faces suggested they had died of fright. Slim does his research, and discovers that a young woman, about to get married, was found dead in this very same stretch of rocky beach – some 30 years before. He digs deeper, to find what connections to living people there might be. As he steps into what looks like a horrific ghost story, he soon finds himself uncovering a long-buried tale of love and revenge.
Chris Ward, aka Jack Benton
The Man by the Sea by Jack Benton, a pseudonym for author Chris Ward, is Slim’s story. The first of six Slim Hardy mysteries, it keeps the reader guessing as to whether it’s a mystery, a ghost story, or some other kind of paranormal tale. (Slim doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he does begin to wonder.)
Chris Ward has published the Slim Hardy mysteries as Jack Benton, as well as numerous novels in the Tube Riders series, the Tales of Crow series, the Endinfinium series, the Fire Planets sage, the Tokyo Lost series, five Christmas novels, and two stand-alone novels. A native of Cornwall in the UK, he has lived and worked in Japan since 2003.
Things happen, and they happen fast, in The Man by the Sea. It has murders, attempted murders, car accidents, and arson. If you like a slightly off-beat mystery that will keep you reading, this is it.