Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Grave Misunderstanding

Most mysteries I've read try to confine themselves to one genre. This one couldn't decide if it was a locked room mystery, a country house murder, light science fiction mystery with robots, humorous cozy mystery with puns out the backside or what. 
The story really reads like a period piece, so much so that references to cell phones, Star Wars, apps and Uber, came as interruptions, yanking me out of the narrative.

The language is jarringly uneven.  It goes from Miss Marple prim straight to 'f-bombs' left right and center without any pause (and then back to Miss Marple).
There are also weirdly distracting asides, such as his watch never telling the proper time ("Ten minutes later, at exactly 44:37 according to his watch....") and several references to 'Duct Tape Wine-the wine that can fix anything'.

Much of the humor comes from having the main character, Inspector Simon Grave, forgetting things (Pratchett? Asimov? Heinlein?) and generally being a bumbling idiot.  He often confuses things or forgets things.  I would have attributed it to a Columbo nod from the author, but unfortunately the feckless inspector doesn't get much better throughout the book.

This is a sidekick book, and in a weird twist (or maybe another nod to the peerless wit of Douglas Adams' SEP field), Graves' sergeant Blunt has some sort of minor cloaking field which makes it impossible for people to 'see' him properly. 

All that aside, I enjoyed this weird uncategorizable book. I liked the strange 'Scooby Doo' ending. I liked all of the science fiction/android bits. I actually quite honestly look forward to any follow-up books from this author. I just can't try to think about what category to try to fit it into because it's impossible.

Three and a half stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

No comments:

Post a Comment