Billingsgate Shoal by Rick Boyer. Warner Books, 1985. (Originally published 1982)
1983 Edgar Award Winner for Best Novel
Billingsgate Shoal is the first in Boyer's Doc Adams series. The book opens with Adams observing a strange boat stuck on Billingsgate Shoal. He later sees it coming into port and sends a scuba-diving family friend to check it out. The scuba diver later turns up dead in the water. Adams, thinking it is somehow tied to the boat, feel guilty. There begins his quest to find out the truth about the boat and, hopefully, to assuage his own guilt.
While the story of Billingsgate Shoal is a good one, I had a hard time believing in Doc Adams as a character. I mean how likely is it that a dental surgeon will stumble into a mystery of this size and complexity and make it through the other side. And then to go on to solve a series of mysteries? I just couldn’t get my head around it. It also just didn’t seem up to par with the other Edgar Award-winning novels I’ve read this year. Quite honestly, reading this book is partly to blame for my recent reading slump.
In reading Edgar Award-winning mysteries this year, I’ve found a few series that I would be happy to continue reading. Unfortunately, Boyer’s Doc Adams series doesn’t make this list. Of all the Edgar books I’ve reviewed, I am least likely to recommend it to others.
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