smileDorothy Martin and her retired police detective husband, Alan Nesbitt, are looking forward to a relaxing holiday on Alderney, a picturesque island in the English Channel. All is not what they anticipate, however, when on their first day, they discover the body of a man on a cliff path. Although there is no evidence to suggest that this is anything other than an unfortunate accident, their suspicions are piqued when some unsavoury revelations come to light that paints the victim in a not-too-pleasant way.

It was only once I started this book that I realised that it formed part of a series – a series I had not come across before. This always worries me slightly in case there are parts of the plot that I am unable to follow. Happily, this was not the case and Smile and be a Villain was a very easy read, with a gentle plot that any fan of the police procedural genre will enjoy.

I enjoyed the fact that with the victim, William Abercrombie, we were unaware throughout the book as to whether this was a simple accident or a case of foul play. The waters were muddied immensely by him being a character that divided the masses – was he a saint or sinner? As more about his past was revealed, this question was answered but we were still kept waiting until the very last chapter before we knew the full facts.

The main characters, Dorothy and Alan, are very likeable and it is easy to see why their tales have become a series. Based on the strength of this book, I will definitely be reading some more of Jeanne M Dams’ novels.

With thanks to Net Galley and Severn House Publishers for the ARC.