Review: Alison Gray’s Hibiscus Fruit
On leave from her job in Newcastle upon Tyne, following the death of her lover, DS Abby Foulkes is on Skiathos with their young son, Johnny. But just as they begin to relax, Johnny finds human bones in a wood near a Greek monastery on a hillside above Skiathos town. It isn’t long before Abby discovers that this isn’t the first set of bones to be found. When someone disappears from the Hibiscus Fruit hotel where they are staying, Abby is drawn into the mystery.
DS Abby Foulkes intrigues me. Alison Gray’s writing intrigues me. The apparently much loved Greek background does not. Detective on foreign soil really doesn’t do anything for me, however the investigation plot of the book is solid and enjoyable and, as far as detective novels go, it is to be recommended, but it is Gray’s character building that I enjoyed the most and the reason why I had the Island holiday issue. I understand that, after suffering a great loss, running away is normally the option, and in reality a likely one, but I would have preferred to see Foulkes struggle with her emotions against the backdrop of her native Newcastle upon Tyne, with its industrial feel, rain and depressing feel (sorry people of Newcastle but it’s how I felt the entire time I was there) however that’s my only issue in an otherwise great story.
The use of family and friends was refreshing for a detective novel and I enjoyed the worry and panic Foulkes went through at the start when her son, Johnny, had wandered away from the group and discovered the bones. There were no plot holes I could find, also very refreshing for a detective novel, and the story flowed effortlessly allowing the reader to immerse themselves in the story. Whilst the Greek backdrop wasn’t my cup of tea and I prefer the darker side of things, Hibiscus Fruit is book one in a series I will definitely be checking out in the future, as will any other book I discover written by an author that has such a unique grasp of plot.
**** 4 Stars!