Tuesday 19 May 2015

Harm None by Will North

The setting for Harm None (which, for the longest time, I kept reading as "Harm Done") is the county of Cornwall in the extreme south west of England.  There, an archaeological excavation of an Iron Age site uncovered a skeleton, and it wasn't an Iron Age skeleton.  How did it get there, and how is the local wise woman involved?

Crime, mystery and a touch of magic have the potential to add up to a great book as far as I'm concerned.  In this case they have had only partial success.

I enjoyed the plot and it kept me guessing.  Unlike other reviewers, I didn't work out very far in advance what had happened to Becca. I enjoyed, too, the vivid descriptions of Cornwall.  I could see the Cornish landscape very clearly in my mind's eye.

Where I thought the story fell down was in the characters and dialogue. I understand that Will North has spent a lot of time in Cornwall but, to be honest, that doesn't shine through.  Everyone, from the 10 year old girl, to the detectives, to the old Etonian, spoke with one voice which sounded suspiciously like a London accent or Estuary English.  The little girl veers from "uh-uhs" and "sort ofs" to beautiful and evocative descriptions beyond any 10 year olds I know. 

All the same, I think the story wins though.  I had no difficulty finishing it at all, and at some speed.  It is a page turner.

Harm None is available as an e-book only, at least at the moment, and is the first in a planned series.