lørdag den 19. marts 2011

Colin Bateman, Mystery Man (2009)


This novel is a Northern Irish stand-alone (a belated St Patrick´s Day review) 

The narrator of this story is a nameless first-person owner of a bookshop in Belfast. When his neighbour, a private detective, disappears, he is more or less pushed into taking over his unsolved cases.

One cannot help admiring the enterprising protagonist who calls himself Lawrence Block:
"The next customer was just looking for directions. He wanted to know where Queen´s University was. I said I wasn´t sure and sold him a street map. It was only around the corner, but the profit was the difference between burger and steak."

The detective business seems to be a bright, new way of making money, and having solved a couple of cases relatively successfully, ´Larry´ feels he is ready to embark on a missing person case. Soon he is not sure if he has got himself entangled in a Nazi conspiracy or just a long row of unfortunate coincidences.

This is an extremely funny story, especially Larry´s fumbling relationship with the girl next door, his self-appointed sidekick who is not always willing to accept her minor role.

I bought it myself and read it for the Ireland Reading Challenge # 4.

See the review that tempted me: Mystery Man

15 kommentarer:

Bernadette sagde ...

Glad you found the funny in this one too, there is apparently a second book in the series which I haven't read (and possibly won't - I think humour is probably best in singles)

Paul D. Brazill sagde ...

Looks good!

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this review. That really does sound funny! I like the unlikely protagonist, too. That scenario can be very effective.

Dorte H sagde ...

Bernadette: I´ll probably try the second also, but not any time soon. I enjoy a good laugh once in a while, but I prefer more excitement.

Paul: I think it is - as long as you know it is mostly for fun.

Margot: you could not quite take him seriously, but I enjoyed his awkward, fumbling relationship with a pretty woman. That was the most realistic part of the story.

....Petty Witter sagde ...

I like the idea of detective stories that do not take temselves too seriously IF the humour isn't taken too far as in the Pink Panther, Inspector Closseau stories.

Dorte H sagde ...

Tracy: it is very difficult to discuss humour, but in my opinion this one was okay whereas Jasper Fforde´s (which I tried last week) was too silly for me.

Clarissa Draper sagde ...

What a humorous story. Selling a map for something a blog away, now that's character! Thanks for the review.

Barbara sagde ...

The idea that a character calls himself Lawrence Block makes me chuckle. Sounds funny.

Mack sagde ...

Besides the humor, Mystery Man has interesting takes on running an independent bookstore, the publishing business, authors, and readers. Often very sharp takes—"the door opened and a man came in and asked if I could recommend the new John Grisham and I said, yes, if you're a moron.

You could derive a pretty good reading list from from the titles mentioned in the course of the book.

The second book, Day of the Jack Russell, isn't quite as much fun but still enjoyable.

Dorte H sagde ...

Barbara: I also liked the meta-fictional humour. As Mack explains, this book has a lot to offer to lovers of books & bookshops.

Mack: you are right; ´Larry´ has an excellent taste in crime fiction, and he is not afraid of expressing it :D

Kelly sagde ...

Well, I've found not everyone has the same taste when it comes to humor, but I might enjoy this one based on the fact I do love books and bookshops.

Belle Wong sagde ...

I'm like Barbara - had a good chuckle about the Lawrence Block name (well, after I double checked the cover, thinking, did I just miss that it's a Lawrence Block title?) :) sounds like a fun read - am adding it to my list!

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: I think you would - it is funny, but not silly. Or that is the way I see it.

Belle: I think this ´literary´ kind of humour appeals to many readers.

Yvette sagde ...

This definitely sounds like something I'd like. Thanks for the review.

Dorte H sagde ...

Yvette: you are welcome.