Title: The Blighted Cliffs (The Reluctant Adventures of Lt. Martin Jerrold, Bk. 1)
Author: Edwin Thomas
Length: 298 pages
Genre: historical fiction/mystery/naval fiction
Plot Basics: Lt. Martin Jerrold is less interested in advancing his career in the British navy than he is in drinking and carousing. But on the morning of his first day of a new assignment in Dover, Jerrold stumbles over a dead body and its his new crewmates who discover them both. Thus starts a string of events largely characterized by Jerrold being in the wrong place and the wrong time and needing to clear his name for murder, all the while trying to help his crew combat the smugglers that are plaguing the Dover coast.
Banter Points: Word Nerd picked up this book because she saw the third one in the series and was intrigued by its cover art. (No kidding... she picked it up more than once for that.) Word Nerd is not a reader of naval fiction -- she's never made it through any Patrick O'Brien -- and she's not a reader of military historical fiction -- none of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books. But, she does like mysteries and stories with governmental conspiracies and hapless heroes, of which Martin Jerrold is a top-notch example. This is a good book because the history isn't over-handed and the descriptions of naval life flow smoothly with the plot. The plot has plenty of twists for any reader who likes mysteries.
Bummer Points: Be prepared to read some dialect and patois. Thomas doesn't do it for all his characters, but there are several where he drops his "haitches" and uses all sorts of odd spellings to get the local accent right. Word Nerd gets annoyed with reading dialect because most of the time she finds it distracting and slows down the pace of her reading since she has to translate.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like any of the genres this book falls into, pick it up. Also, if you want to read more historical fiction, this seems like a good title to break in with. When Word Nerd clears out her current TBR pile, she will be picking up the next books in this series.