Crime Thriller: Murder at Dingli Cliffs

'A real page turner', first readers commented after having read Alexander G. Johnson's latest literary coup, which was published on the 19th of November 2022 first under the title 'A Time of Adversity' on Amazon. Re-released one year later, at the beginning of November 2023, the author's work was crowned with a new title and an added glossary to untangle some Maltese terms. New from the outside, proven quality inside.

«Murder at Dingli Cliffs»

Cold and gruesome crime beneath Malta's burning sun

It is 1973. The sunny Mediterranean Islands of Malta are in their first decade as an independent nation. As the body of a dead boy is found in the sea by the cliffs, a priest is murdered in a church. The small, predominantly Catholic country is in shock and plunges bachelor, tubist and food lover Chief Inspector Xavier Xuereb, head of the Maltese police homicide squad, into the most heartless and gruelling case of his career. One murder follows another, and few clues and circumstantial evidence lead Xavier through the thorny maze of organised child abuse and corruption that spans Malta, the sister island of Gozo, England and the Vatican. His politically motivated superiors increasingly hamper Xavier's investigations, while his nagging widowed mother is an added burden. The cases reach an unorthodox, unexpected climax in the final months of 1974, the year Malta declares itself a republic.

 5***** manuscript review below, all reviews » here

Now selling!
Your personal copy - print-on-demand paperback and Kindle or ebook - can be ordered through these online book stores:

Amazon worldwide: Kindle (except PL, SE), Paperback (except BR, IN):
Adlibris, SE:  paperbackebook
Agapea, ES:  paperback
Apple Books
, World: ebook 
Better World Books, US:  paperback
Blackwell's, UK:  paperback
, World: paperback, ebook
bü e-book
Fishpond, NZ:  paperback
Gardners Books, UK: paperback & ebook (requires account)
Hugendubel.dee-book e-book
Rakuten Kobo, IL/World:  paperback pendingebook
Scribd, US/World:  ebook
Walmart, US:  paperback
Zentralbibliothek Zürich: library paperback (previous title ‟A Time of Adversity‟)
(updated 25 March 2024)


New release 'Murder at Dingli Cliffs' pending on:

Barnes & Noble, US:  pending, US:  pending
Google Play Books, World:  pending
Indigo, CA:  
The Ripped Bodice, US:  pending
(list updated 25 March 2024)

More global, regional and ebook stores to follow as distribution expands.
German language edition see 'Der Tote von Dingli Cliffs'

Get thrilled today!

Paperback, 979-8866305964, 284 pages, 5.5x8.5‟ or 13.97 x 1.63 x 21.59 cm
19 November 2022, 2 November 2023, © Seven Beland Publishing


Richard Neville, 20 Oct 2022 - on the original title A Time of Adversity

Manuscript Review

by Alexander G. Johnson

At a time when many septuagenarians across the globe are indeed facing times of adversity, late literary bloomer Alex Johnson - safely nestled in his Swiss lakeside home - decided to turn his hand to crime writing rather than putting his feet up in front of another episode of Countdown or Tipping Point. What a good decision that turned out to be!

Johnson's page-turning debut introduces us to the 1970s world of Maltese detective Xavier Xuereb, still living at home with his nagging mother and at work dealing with the interference of his superiors but nevertheless finding daily solace in local baking speciality pastizzi.

Indeed, putting aside the storyline for one moment, it is Johnson's ability to introduce us to Malta and its neighbouring islands, where he himself spent many years, that first strikes one. Malta comes alive -its geography, its people, its cultural traditions and above all its culinary delights such as the aforementioned pastizzi. In this he is following in the footsteps of the master storyteller himself Graham Greene, whose legendary novels spanned the globe from Cuba to Vietnam via Vienna. This novel will certainly be popular on Malta, whose population will no doubt notice things in the narrative that are missed by those who have never visited that Mediterranean isle. 

However, to those not lucky enough to have spent time there, particularly British people, this will be compensated for by the character of Xuereb, who comes across as a kind of Maltese Inspector Morse. Frustration, gruffness but dogged persistence are characteristics that shine through. So much so that I read Xuereb's lines in the voice of actor John Thaw! In addition, fans of Canadian songwriting legend Joni Mitchell will not be disappointed as the depiction of two of the nuns on the island has the reader harking back to her excellent Magdalen Laundries song. 

As for the story, Johnson's tale manages to embrace the shadier sides of Catholicism, local criminal masterminds, the British military, public schools, gentlemen's clubs, child abuse and much more in its fast-moving 250+ pages allowing the reader to contemplate wider issues whilst at the same time trying to solve the crimes.  

This crime drama should be on the essential reading lists for those who enjoy detective stories in the tradition of Christie and Dexter and especially on the lists of people planning on holidaying in the Mediterranean.

In fact, the only negative feedback I can give is that the ending of the book for Xuereb seems to indicate there will be no follow-up! Shame!

Chapeau Mr Johnson!