Eastbourne in east Sussex, firmly planted on the sunshine coast. Only fifteen miles to Battle Abbey, where in 1066 the battle of Hastings was fought and William defeated Harold.
The town sits on an open sloping beach where for centuries smugglers brought contraband in from France and where fishermen still land their nightly catches of white fish, lobster and crabs. Yet there are others that call it the dead end of the country, its pier, the launching ramp for departing souls and Beachy Head, the gaping mouth of hell.
All of this is 472 miles from Glasgow and Detective Chief Inspector Jack Buchanan, whose wife calls him an anachronism in the 21st century, a comment he whole heartily endorses.
When he walked the beat in the Gorbals area of Glasgow as a young PC, his idea of street justice was to take the miscreant down a dark alley, thump seven bells of hell out of them and send them on their way with a warning never to do it again. Now 30 years later, he hadn’t changed his view on street justice one iota.
Buchanan was on secondment, his brief was to find out firstly, why the body of a hotel maid had been found dead, floating in the Sovereign Harbour, and secondly, why three weeks later a senior Sussex police detective’s body had been removed from the same marina, while still seated at the wheel of his car.
Now Buchanan was in Eastbourne, a fish out of water and having a fulltime partner thrust upon him was something Buchanan had always tried to avoid. But now, saddled with the fresh-faced female Detective Sergeant Jill Street, he rather fancied taking his chances of returning to Glasgow and the threatened investigation, besides he hadn’t found a beer to his taste yet
But returning to Glasgow wasn't an option, his wife returned from France, declared she liked the climate of the south coast and Eastbourne in particular. Besides, it was only a twenty minute drive to Newhaven, the ferry to Dieppe and her family; his plans for returning north were scuppered.
Buchanan set up home in Sovereign harbour and a portable incident room, citing the need to be close to the crime scene. Besides, he said, it was a forty-minute drive, each way, along the A27 to police HQ a total waste of his time.
It didn’t take Buchanan long to see that the investigation was severely flawed, evidence had been tampered with, files and reports either missing or incorrectly completed and vital witnesses not interviewed.
In spite of her youth and femininity, Buchanan found Street a worthy partner, almost the child he and Karen never had.
Follow Buchanan and Street as they track the killer from seedy Eastbourne seaside pubs through bustling nightlife of the Sovereign Harbour, across the channel to France and on to the lofty heights of academia at Sussex University.
Sail with them, through the night on the rolling, cold and damp decks of the coastal fishing boats. Almost being added to the grim list of Beachy Head casualties, working in disguise as deckhands on cross channel ferries, to the flying bridge of the latest 40 meter yacht from the yard of Greyspear yachts.
Buchanan and Street, always appearing to be one step behind the killer, yet finally, justice is done, Buchanan style.