The Man by the Sea by Jack Benton

8th October 2021.

This is a murder mystery with a difference, set in a sleepy seaside town in Lancashire. Former soldier, Slim Hardy, discharged for misconduct is now a private detective. He’s been employed by Emma, who believes her husband is having an affair.

Slim can’t find any evidence of an affair, but the husband, Ted, is behaving strangely, making incantations in old Latin at the water’s edge. Who is he talking to? Why?

Slim’s curiosity won’t let it rest until he has answers. Unfortunately, with his drinking problems and poor judgement, it’s not going to be an easy investigation.

I enjoyed the novel, which was easy to read and not too demanding. The paranormal overtones made it different from a traditional murder mystery, which added to its appeal. While I didn’t take to Slim’s character, he drove the story along, despite being deeply flawed and a poor detective.


John “Slim” Hardy, heavy drinker and disgraced soldier turned bumbling private detective, is hired to investigate Ted Douglas, an investment banker who slips out of work every Friday to visit a desolate cove on the Lancashire coast. There, he walks to the shore, opens an old book, and begins to read aloud.

His wife thinks he’s having an affair.

Slim thinks he’s insane.

The truth is more incredible than either could imagine.

The Man by the Sea by Jack Benton

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