1 in the Doc Adams series 1983 Edgar Award for Best MysteryDoc Adams series First, a fishing trawler runs aground on the Massachusetts shore Then, a young scuba diver sent to investigate the wreck is found floating lifeless in the water Doc Adams, the unhappy friend of the unlucky aquarian, has just been launched through the stormy seas and blood flecked sands of the Cape Cod coast to plumb a murder he should have prevented There he uncovers a hidden treasure in illegal arms and barely survives a near fatal confrontation with a gun This leaves the killers he s hunting with the comfortable feeling that Doc is dead.
Boyer Is Up There With The Best The Boston GlobeA Doc Adams Thriller, Winner Of The Edgar Award For Best Mystery Novel Of The YearFirst, A Fishing Trawler Runs Aground On The Massachusetts Shore Then A Young Scuba Diver Sent To Investigate The Wreck Is Found Dead In The Water Doc Adams, A Friend Of The Dead Diver, Sets Out Through The Stormy Seas And Blood Flecked Sands Of Cape Cod To Plumb A Murder He Should Have Prevented There He Uncovers A Hidden Treasure In Illegal Arms And Is Nearly Killed In The Process Doc Lets The World Think He S Dead, The Better To Hunt For The Killers Of His Friend But If He Makes A Single Mistake, He Ll Be Clam Chowder 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.
com 2011 0 Rick Boyer was my writing professor in College and I really enjoyed his Doc Adams series When my brother was recovering from surgery, he started with this book and read the entire series back to back to get him to read anything prior would have been a hard sell Probably guy type book, but I enjoyed them all and wish they were still coming.
5 stars Definitely a book for ordinary guys the narrator constantly goes on tangents about good drinking, good eating, and good fishing sailing boating etc It was fun to read on the beach at Cape Cod the book s setting but was far less enjoyable for me back home in LA especially as the mystery unraveled in the weak third act Bonus half star for managing to not use the phrase I m getting too old for this % It is odd to read a book that takes place in the past 30 years and everything is so different than now One can read a really old book, and it doesn t seem as odd Anyway a pretty good mystery and Doc Adams is a good character.
If you like very descriptive writing and character development than action this is for you Its an interesting story but could have been cut almost in half as far as I m concerned, but I m not a fan of wordy descriptions.
At times, this book was suspenseful, especially the parts involving sailing and boat lore I was hooked and wanted to know what was going on, though I didn t find the result any too satisfying as the author seemed to keep throwing in new elements and most of the detecting involved the hero breaking into places and getting caught by criminals The most terrifying aspect of the book was the cover blurb comparing this book to MacDonald I don t know if the critic meant John D.
, Ross, or Gregory MacDonald, but either way, no.
After reading a slew of stand alone thrillers, broken only by Dick Francis s private eye series book Whip Hand, it was very refreshing to read the 1983 Edgar Winner, Billingsgate Shoal It s the first in a series about oral surgeon and amateur sleuth Charlie Doc Adams It also appears to have been Mr Boyer s first novel, so it s even of an achievement that he won the Edgar with it in competition with seasoned authors.
When the book opens, we find Charlie and his wife at their cottage on Cape Cod The surroundings, though lyrically described by Boyer, don t help Charlie s midlife crisis He loves his wife, his two almost grown sons are doing fine, and his career is successful, but there is something missing in Charlie s life It has become boring.
Lying offshore from The Breakers, the Adamses perhaps ironically named cottage, is Billingsgate Shoal, where many a vessel has run aground Charlie s binoculars spot a large boat, a trawler or dragger, aground with three men attempting repairs Later that day, the vessel, Penelope, limps into port, where Charlie sees it just as he encounters Allan Hart, a friend of his son s, on his way out for some scuba diving Curious about the Penelope, Charlie suggests that Allan take a look at her hull on the way out of the harbor The next day, Charlie learns that Allan, an experienced diver, has been found dead.
Charlie s initial investigation is motivated by guilt he believes that Allan s death might have been an accident caused by tangling with the Penelope, and that he bears some responsibility He just wants to track down the vessel s owner and get some peace of mind But as this task becomes and difficult, he begins to suspect murder and other skulduggery A traffic accident that breaks his wrist leaves him with a month of free time, and he uses it to pursue the case to its thrilling conclusion.
The plot of Billingsgate Shoal, while complicated with than one set of villains, is believable and hangs together The settings not limited to Cape Cod but covering much of Massachusetts are beautifully described and accurate as far as I could tell I spent my college years not far from Concord, where Charlie lives The characters, both major and minor, are multi dimensional, and humorous dialogue and situations occur naturally throughout the book, giving some much needed relief from the scary parts Billingsgate Shoal isn t a book that leaves you breathless, although there were many breath holding moments of suspense It s a mix of the traditional amateur sleuth mystery with the action thriller in which every aspect plot, characters, setting is done really, really well I found it richly deserving of its award and will plan to read the rest of the Doc Adams series.