The Waterguard by Richard Hernaman Allen.
Shortly after his arrival as an Officer of Customs & Excise in Harwich, Nick Storey discovers that his predecessor has been killed in a road accident, having taken away with him official documents. When Nick retrieves them, he also discovers £50,000 worth of uncut diamonds. The dead man’s wife tells him she believes her husband was murdered, but shortly afterward is believed to have committed suicide. When going back to her house to see whether there is any evidence about the diamonds there, he is escorted by WPC Rosemary Johnson, who is impressed by his ability to spot things which cast doubt on the suicide.
Following up the trail of the entries taken away by the dead man, Nick and a senior investigator start to follow a trail of inconsistencies, which lead to the arrest of a second-hand jewelry seller, who has a safe full of documents showing a trail of diamonds from Siberia through Harwich to £35 million being paid into the Narodny Bank in London by a man called Davidson. Nick and Rosemary, who have fallen in love, carry out their own unofficial sleuthing, which ends up with Rosemary being shot by two KGB hoods, whose partners subsequently try to kill Rosemary in hospital, but are thwarted by Nick. However, knowing why they shot Rosemary enables the traitor in Customs & Excise to be identified. Davidson’s attempts to escape are thwarted by Customs cutters, but it takes Nick and Rosemary’s (unofficial) persistence to follow the trail of the smuggled diamonds to its end.
This is the first of over 40 books following Nick and Rosemary through their careers and adventures (and after retirement too).
Review by Philip R. H. Allen: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. I’m biased. I wrote it. So, think it’s great! Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 26, 2013. Verified Purchase. There are virtually no crime novels written about Customs & Excise, the second largest crime enforcement agency in the UK (up to 2005). Yet it dealt with a range of subjects from smuggling through to sophisticated tax fraud. In my opinion, the Waterguard provides a good balance between grounding the story in Customs & Excise & in 1964 and having a crime plot with plenty of action – and a love interest. I believe it feels as though it was written by someone who knew the organization thoroughly.
Review by Jimbhoy: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Takes me back! Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 6, 2022. Verified Purchase. Well written and takes me back to when I was in the job. Maybe not technically accurate in all aspects but it is a work of fiction.
Review by Vanessa Allen: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. The Waterguard was a great read. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2014. Verified Purchase. I found this book to be an extremely good read. I didn’t want to put it down and was drawn in immediately by the main characters Nick and Rosemary. The writer gives a fascinating glimpse into the work of The Waterguard.
Review by Geoff Robinson: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. GOOD READ. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2012. Verified Purchase. An excellent yarn especially if you are ex-HMCE remembering past days. Great detail as part of a gripping story. If only the real world had been as exciting as this!
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Paperback: 291 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (June 6, 2022)
Mysteries (Detective Story-Historical)
Mysteries (Traditional Detective)
About Richard Hernaman Allen: I am a former Commissioner of HM Customs & Excise who also worked in 4 other Government Departments (two as a Director). I have always written since I was 9 or 10 and would probably have been a professional writer if I had won a competition when I was 21 (the novel I wrote was appalling!). I started “Through Fire” in 1976 and finished in 2006 after I had taken early retirement. My job, marriage to Vanessa and being father of Joanna & Katharine, took up most of my time. After I finished it, I worked on sequels “By Water”, “Out of Sight” and currently “Borne on the wind”.
By accident, passing Barton Stacey, near Andover, on my way on holiday, I discovered the pleasure of writing detective fiction. After my first two attempts, I decided that it would be sensible to focus on setting stories in Customs & Excise, which is not well served for detective fiction and would allow me to record what life was life in a department which has been merged out of existence, in the years from 1964-95. I’ve subsequently followed my main characters into retirement with more detective stories and have just started with a new detective solving murders, etc., in the mid-17th century.
I also compose music – from classical, modern & pop to jazz, experiment in acrylic paint, and run longish distances. I ran the London marathon & many half marathons, but a hip replacement means that I stick to shorter distances. I have a constant struggle with my garden.
The birth of my grandsons, Josh (2013) and Jasper (2015) have brought added joy into my life and I hope we will be able to show them some of the places we have loved in Britain, Italy, France, Germany and Latvia before we are too old.
Books by Richard Hernaman Allen:
- A Well-Respected Man-Sep 17, 2015
- Along The Watchtower-Apr 14, 2015
- Ballad Of A Thin Man-Apr 11, 2018
- Bankers’ Draught-Oct 1, 2014
- Bankers’ Draught-Oct 6, 2014
- Between The Mountains And The Sea-Oct 25, 2020
- Brussels Sprout-Sep 19, 2016
- by Richard Hernaman Allen
- By Water 2: Uncharted Lands-Mar 2, 2016
- By Water 3: Journeys From And To-May 26, 2016
- By Water 4: Journeys of Hardship and Hope (Ukrainian Edition)-Jul 19, 2016
- By Water 4: Journeys of Hardship and Hope-Jul 26, 2016
- By Water 5: Full Circle (Ukrainian Edition)-Oct 31, 2016
- By Water-Jan 18, 2016
- Carillon-Apr 13, 2022
- Copper Kettle-Nov 7, 2017
- Death On The Volga-Nov 4, 2019
- Defenestration And Devilment (A play of deceit)-May 11, 2020
- Eight Miles High-Nov 21, 2018
- Empty Lands-Oct 23, 2020
- End Of The Road-May 12, 2019
- Fallen Leaves-Dec 10, 2020
- Fools’ Copper (not to be confused with Ghost Beer)-Jul 11, 2017
- Fools’ Copper (not to be confused with Ghost Beer)-Jul 18, 2017
- Ghosts In The Machine-Jan 22, 2019
- Heard It On The Grapevine-Mar 31, 2016
- In A Rich Man’s World-Sep 14, 2020
- Inland, Illicit And Incompetent-Jul 1, 2020
- It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue-Aug 4, 2019
- It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue-Jul 25, 2019
- Just One Look-Sep 6, 2021
- Kenavo-Feb 25, 2021
- Kisses Sweeter Than Wine-Sep 5, 2017
- Market Forces-Mar 17, 2019
- Medicine Man-Oct 8, 2018
- Misfits And Miscreants-Jan 26, 2020
- Murder At Barebone’s Parliament-July 17, 2022)
- Murder At The Baltic Coast Hotel-May 27, 2015
- Murder At The Restoration-Jul 6, 2021
- Murder In A Time Of Fire-Nov 8, 2021
- Murder In A Time Of Plague-Oct 11, 2020
- My life As A Green Balloon and Other Effusions-Dec 28, 2020
- No Stranger On The Shore-Nov 30, 2020
- Nothing Was Delivered-Nov 1, 2015
- Old Ghosts-Aug 30, 2018
- On A Carousel-Feb 7, 2018
- Our Friends In The South-Dec 12, 2016
- Out Of Sight 1: A Suspicious Death-Feb 9, 2017
- Out Of Sight 2: Invisible People-Mar 29, 2017
- Out Of Sight 3: An Invisible Conspiracy-May 21, 2017
- Post And Perfidy-Mar 19, 2020
- Reflections On The Plague Year-Jan 28, 2021
- Something In The Air-Dec 1, 2015
- Sunrise, Sunset-Nov 16, 2020
- The Body In The Marine Buildings-Sep 6, 2019
- The Corridors Of Secrecy (AKA Chinese Whispers)-Jun 28, 2018
- The Legend Of The Collector’s Clock-May 13, 2021
- The Magic Clarinet-Dec 20, 2017
- The Murders At The Putney Debates-Oct 15, 2020
- The Road To Nowhere-Feb 4, 2022
- The Summer of Love-Oct 17, 2013
- The Waterguard-Jun 5, 2022
- Through Fire 4 MAGDARG: The Judgement of Subrid-Nov 4, 2014
- Through Fire 5: Thlaxaca-The Blood Sun-Dec 4, 2014
- Through Fire 6 Thlaxaca: Blood of the Blood Sun-Jan 27, 2015
- Through Fire 7: Background Papers-Mar 15, 2015
- Through Fire: 1 Karizhka-May 29, 2014
- Through Fire: 2 Kardakan-Jul 1, 2014
- Through Fire: 3 Magdarg-Aug 17, 2014
- We Saw The Sea-Jan 20, 2021
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