Smile of the Stowaway
by Tony Bassett
It’s my stop on the “Smile of the Stowaway” blog tour! Thanks very much to Rachel’s Random Resources and author Tony Bassett who have kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Smile Of The Stowaway is a crime novel set in Kent about an English couple (Anne & Bob) who are surprised to find a strange man climbing out from beneath their vehicle on their return from a French holiday.
Instead of handing him to the authorities, they provide the friendly stranger with shelter and find him a job on a farm. But then he is arrested by police and accused of murder. Could this man from 6,000 miles away be guilty of the horrific murder in an idyllic Kentish hamlet? Or is the real killer still at large?
Anne turns detective, battling against circumstantial evidence and police bungling, in an effort to uncover the truth.
Imagine you’ve popped over to France for a holiday and returned home to find that an illegal immigrant has somehow managed to hide himself underneath your car for the whole journey. You’d hand him over to the police, right? But what if he’s kind, friendly and just looking for a better life for himself?
“Smile of the Stowaway” tells just this story. Anne and Bob Shaw come home from France to find that Yusuf Osman, a young man from Eritrea, has been stowed away under their vehicle and is now standing on their driveway looking for help.
Anne and Bob are in their mid-thirties, but for me their attitudes, language and actions read a little older and as a personal preference I’d put them more in their mid-fifties. The couple were initially a little wary of Yusuf and question their decision not to report him, but they soon come to realise that Yusuf is a good man and they are keen to help him find work and a place to stay.
So when a local man is murdered and all fingers point in Yusuf’s direction, Anne and Bob are determined to uncover the truth and clear Yusuf’s name.
The story is told from Bob’s perspective. He’s a teacher with an eye for detail, often telling us the exact dates, ages, heights and facts about the people and places in this story. Anne is more of the detective, seeking evidence and alibis of the people she suspects could be the true murderer.
This book was well paced and easy to read, holding my attention throughout. While I initially questioned why the couple didn’t call the police straight away, with time I found myself routing for Yusuf and could understand the difficult decision they had in their hands. The story line is topical and very relevant to political discussions in recent years and it’s certainly one to make you think. I always enjoy reading about local places too, so the story being set in Kent was also a bonus for me.
I did have a couple of niggles, such as Yusuf’s inconsistent level of English, especially at the beginning. I think as a teacher of English as a second language myself this was bound to bug me, but in general, I’m really impressed with this first book from Tony Bassett!
Overall rating: “Smile of the Stowaway” is a well-paced, enjoyable story of immigration, crime and uncovering the truth. If you’re a fan of British crime fiction, give this book a go – it’s 4 stars from me!
Don’t forget to check out the reviews of other blogs on the tour and if this sounds like your kind of book, keep scrolling to enter the giveaway below!
Giveaway to Win 6 x PB copies of Smile of the Stowaway (Open INT)*
*Terms and Conditions: Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties,with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.
See my other reviews of books by Tony Bassett here: