TurnstoneBook - 2000
Portsmouth is a city on the ropes. Parts of the city are as deprived as anywhere in the UK; it has the highest repossession rate in the country; only East London packs in its people more densely. As the city haemorrhages jobs the crime rate is soaring; it has the highest volume of cases going through the Crown Courts of anywhere in England. It is a city of contrasts: People in the bottom 5% of earners live alongside those in the top 5%; HMS Victory rests in the docks, the Royal Navy is pulling out. It is a poor, dirty city but a spirited one. And it is home for DI Joe Faraday.
Joe Faraday is 42. Six foot tall, loose-limbed and with a slow smile, Faraday has made it in the CID through extraordinary diligence, an unswerving commitment to principle and an uncanny knack for gauging character. Slow to make friends, a widower, dedicated to bringing up his profoundly deaf son, Faraday pushes himself hard and expects the same from his colleagues. Stories abound in the Portsmouth North Division of the quiet DI's sudden, volcanic outbursts of fury directed at inferiors and superiors alike who haven't matched his own exacting standards. An enigma to those he works with, Faraday's refuge from the desperate business of policing his hometown is his passion for the natural world and the birdlife that teems on the beaches and estuaries of the South coast.
And now the sinking of one of the yachts in the Fastnet race is beginning to look like the perfect cover for a murder that cuts to the core of Portsmouth's money set. But only Joe Faraday believes it happened.