Operation Goodwood: A Mirabelle Bevan Mystery

Written by Sara Sheridan
Review by Julie Parker

Mirabelle Bevan, head of a debt-collecting agency in 1950s Brighton, enjoys a day out to see motor racing at Goodwood with Superintendent McGregor. They are impressed by the skill of Dougie Beaumont, who is expected to surpass even the driving prowess of Stirling Moss, which, on this occasion, he does. The next scene moves on to a fire in Mirabelle’s apartment block, The Lawns, in Brighton as she awakens coughing and is rescued by a fireman but, to her horror, she recognises the body next to her on the grass outside as that of Dougie Beaumont. She discovers that he is dead but has died from hanging rather than from the effects of the fire, though it is soon revealed that he was killed and the fire started to conceal the fact. Shaken though she is, Mirabelle is soon on the trail of the killer and within days has another body to consider.

The story concerns the theme of appearance and deception as Mirabelle discovers that Dougie’s friend, George Highton, and his father, sister and brother-in-law are all concealing another lifestyle and illegal money-making activity with its centre in Kenya. Good descriptions and characterisation are key features of this story, the fifth in the series about Mirabelle and her circle, which considers the role of women in society in 1955 whilst also providing entertaining detective stories.