A murder mystery set in Jaywick, Essex, UK
May 20, 2019 3:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to remember the title of a murder mystery novel set in Jaywick, a small town on the Essex coastline. Key plot points: beach huts, young main characters (18-21), and a girl who had been terribly ugly but had had plastic surgery that made her merely plain. Spoiler/nsfw detail inside.

I don't remember the details of the mystery, but I do remember that the 'ugly' girl was still treated badly by everyone, including herself, because of her looks. It turned out that she had been in a sort of secret relationship with one of the male characters, where he wouldn't be seen in public with her but would meet her in a beach hut and let her go down on him (lovely!); this was relevant for solving the mystery somehow.

I think I read this book in the early 2000s, at a time when I was spending a lot of time in Jaywick with my family. My mum and I were very pleased to find a book set there. Having spent some time unsuccessfully searching, I'm starting to wonder if the author had renamed the town to something else. It was very obviously Jaywick, though; at one point the characters even went to a pub we frequented, the Never Say Die.

The copy we had was a hardback, with a dark-coloured or black cover. I *think* the author was a woman but I'm not certain. Thanks!
posted by daisyk to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think you might be thinking of Deception on His Mind by Elizabeth George. The main plot is about the murder of a Pakistani immigrant but the best friend of the victim's fiancee is the plain girl, and the book spends a fair amount of time on her POV.
posted by cpatterson at 4:15 AM on May 20, 2019


Came in to say that Elizabeth George writes about that part of the world, but Deception on His Mind is based on Walton-on-the-Naze, not Jaywick (in the book, renamed as Balford-le-Nez!) Would be worth browsing her other titles though in case it was one of them.

Wildcard suggestion - I think I've read Nicci French books set in Suffolk, don't know if she strays further south, but worth a look.
posted by penguin pie at 5:29 AM on May 20, 2019


Amazing! It is Deception on His Mind, thank you both. I should have known it was based in Walton and not Jaywick: there are no beach huts in Jaywick; the houses are pretty much beach huts!
posted by daisyk at 6:09 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Great! It’s ages since I’ve read it - it might well include some visits to Jaywick, I certainly don’t recall that being a pub name in Walton in the past 40 years, so it seems quite possible that the characters went down the coast to your one!
posted by penguin pie at 2:16 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


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