‘Cold Heaven’ by Brian Moore

Cold Heaven book coverCold Heaven [London: Jonathan Cape, 1983] is another of these fascinating and out-of-the-ordinary tales that Brian Moore delivers with great style.

Marie is on holiday in France with her doctor husband who has delivered a paper to an international conference. As they relax in the sea off the beach at Nice; she in the pedalo and he swimming alongside; they are accidentally run down by a motor boat and the consequences for him are dire. By nightfall he is in the morgue but – wait for it – in the morning his body has disappeared and, back at their hotel, his wallet, credit cards and airline tickets have disappeared. This is even more complicated due to the facts that (a) Marie was planning to tell him she was leaving for another man and (b) she, a convinced non-believer, had a quasi-religious experience back in Carmel a year before which has prayed on her mind ever since. Is there a simple, or a criminal, or even a supernatural explanation for all this? Marie and you will spend the rest of the book finding out.

As well as the central character, the supporting roles are very expertly described with their characters impacting on what they do and how it affects Marie. Be prepared to dislike Father Niles and the lemon-coloured, track-suit-wearing therapist but I am not telling you any more. Those who know Brian Moore’s work will already know his first name is pronounced BrEEan and that he wrote cracking good novels.

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