Murder by the Sea – the book
Murder by the Sea is the CBS Reality series that launched in 2018. Around 100 episodes have been made, exploring murders in a variety of seaside settings.
Towns by the sea offer an intriguing backdrop to such crimes. The seaside is where we go for a holiday, to enjoy a better quality of life, or to retire.
What could go wrong amid the sunny beaches, funfairs and lovely views?
From Blackpool to the Orkneys
Plenty, of course. The larger resorts, such as Blackpool, have suffered economic decline and have large transient populations. Not everyone who heads there for work or play is a model citizen.
Residents of smaller spots, from Barry in South Wales to the Orkney Islands, have been shocked when private pressures have exploded in such peaceful settings.
Cases featured on Murder by the Sea have been compelling because they explore how normal people in these often stunning environments have encountered those we dread. Violent husbands, the greedy, callous relatives, the psychopathic.
Because the series has built quite a following since 2018, the idea of a companion book came up. Two new seasons are currently in the pipeline. In addition, there is much valuable interview material that can’t always be squeezed into the hour-long slots.
So the book is not just a rehash of the programmes, but adds new and often moving insights.
I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to appear on several series of Murder by the Sea. I usually contribute to five or six cases as a true-crime author and got to know the makers of the documentaries, Monster Films.
Murder by the Sea exclusive
And so with David Howard, the series director who conducts the interviews, I’ve worked on the forthcoming book. This features 10 cases from past series.
David has interviewed relatives of victims, detectives, crime experts and psychologists. They offer powerful insights into the cases. However, there are often interesting observations that there is no room for in the finished episode.
I’ve had the opportunity to read through interview transcripts and include some striking exclusive information in the book. For those who have seen Murder by the Sea and those who have not, the cases should make fascinating – sometimes astonishing – reading.
Why did Alfred Merrifield go free while his wife hanged?
Cases covered ask some strong questions. Why was serial killer Malcolm Green released on probation to commit a second horrendous crime?
How was it that Alfred Merrifield was not convicted alongside his wife, Louisa, for the 1953 poisoning of their employed, Sarah Ricketts? Is there any way to understand the awful murder committed by teenager Mathew Hardman on the isle of Anglesey?
Answers can be elusive. However, exploring the cases and asking the right questions offers insights into how and why a few people commit crimes that are dismaying and seem inexplicable. And how they get caught.