‘Should I arrest ‘im, inspector? ‘E ‘as got beady eyes!’ A review of Alan Hardy’s novel The Mystery of The Disappearing Corpses…

The Case Of The Disappearing Corpses: Inspector Cullot Mystery Series Book 3The Case Of The Disappearing Corpses: Inspector Cullot Mystery Series Book 3 by Alan Hardy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks for the exercise in hilarity, a well deserved five stars !

I think it safe to say that I haven’t read any mystery so complicated by Conan-Doyle or Pope. But then I can also safely say that theirs are not so farcical either.

This is the first of a collection I happen to have read by the author, one who, quite clearly, has been influenced by many of the old greats to have marked me down the years too: namely, the Ealing Comedies…

Firstly, we have Inspector Cullot. I love the French touch, especially given he happens to own a fetish for ladies’ underwear, but we’ll allow him that – he is, after all, possibly the world’s greatest detector of crime, and possibly of all time; and if you don’t believe me, ask blundering PC Blunt, and they don’t get much blunter that him! A bit of a throwback is Blunt, to Basil Rathbone’s Watson, played by Nigel Bruce – or do I mean the blundering idiot of said films, Inspector Lestrard? Or maybe ask the somewhat more competent, if impotent, Watkins – I say impotent but only when dealing with Cullot’s young and more reliable Barbara Windsor-esque kick-in-your-face daughter, Stephanie – thank God she’s on this team of fallible four!

But of course things always turn out right in the end…

As I state in each of my reviews, I will never give anything away, but what I would like to say is this: if you’re after an easy, furiously fast and funny read, then this book – no doubt this series – is for you!

I’ve already likened the book to the style of Ealing Comedy – Watkins, a young George Cole, perhaps; Blunt, Trinder? Formby? Sid James? Stephanie is positively St Trinian.

And as for Cullot himself? Will Hay every time for me.

One last thing, were you to extract the book’s witty dialogue – indeed, the dialogue – you’d be left with only a fifth of the book. And for that reason you can’t help but race along with it. All credit, then, to the author, because I myself know how difficult it is to produce flowing dialogue without it at times losing itself, and therefore the reader.

It’s thanks to the amount of dialogue, and the author’s skill and dexterity in applying it, that I not only visualised the book in film, but in the theatre as well, each scene as visual as it is humorous.

What a good old fashion romp – Bravo, Alan Hardy !

Chris,

your literary, theatrical friend

do flies fly, do ducks duck – do muses muse? an authorial guide to an authorial myth…

Hello again, and welcome (back).

I was going to write a piece about smoking for this post, given that cigarettes play something of a prominent role both in my debut novel, Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good, and its sequel, Nancy Boy: for one year only…

… but then I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say about them, about cigarettes, at least this time around, other than the fact they’re bad for you, and you possibly know that already…

And so, this time around, I’d simply like to offer my opinion on that old authors’ bugaboo: ‘writers’ block’ – I can already hear you: ‘’Been done! Boring. The irony: Chris is writing about writers’ block because he’s totally uninspired – Tell us something about cigarettes!’

And you may well be right. For, at the end of the day, all I would like to say about it – well, there’s a clue in the above paragraph, where you’ll notice I placed my first mention of the ‘ailment’ in inverted commas, as I’ve just done again, there, with ‘ailment’. Why? Because there’s no such thing as ‘writers’ block’, but a mere whim amongst authors, an attention seeker – How I suffer for my art! I was a genius, and now I’m a fraud!

Thank God, then, for writers’ block! The ignorant masses – you know, the non-authors out there – those doing real work, they buy it, ’works like a charm.

And so it goes, as somebody once said.

‘What, then, Chris, might we attribute to the state of being uninspired?’

In a word: fatigue. In another: tiredness. In another – okay, I’ll make it two: mental exhaustion.

Prescription: go and do something else – a change is as good as a rest!

‘And for how long?’

As long as required – how long is a piece of string?

Writing is a consequence  the byproduct, you might say – of a head-full of knowledge, which is subconsciously working away, formulating your art, whilst ever you, the author, are engaged in other activities, like taking your kids to school, playing badminton on Thursday, and on, each activity fuelling the mind with creativity… save that, on some days, attempting to force it out , the creative process, before it’s ripe, can have the adverse effect…

No, I won’t go on, but to say that this has been my experience since I’ve been ‘putting pen to paper’, particularly with the above novels.

The sequel to the sequel, incidentally, is making progress: The Battle of Hastings – the third in the Rowlings Years series. And my policy of taking a break when it isn’t there is working a treat.

But here’s what inspired this post, thus confirming my philosophy, you may want to call it: earlier today, again basking in a week away from the ‘pen’, I was lying in the bath whilst my beautiful other half sat on the side of it. We were chatting, about how we arrived where we are today, and via many an adventure, I’m very happy to say – I wouldn’t have had it any other way; did you know that swords actually evolve into pens if you survive? Anyhow, what evolved from this conversation was my mental formulation of the fourth book in the Rowlings Years series: Two Big Bags and a Guitar…

How about that!

It’s just a case of getting it down, that’s all. Which will happen when it so wishes I do so.

In the meantime, if you are an author, I hope this post has given you a better sense of perspective – or you’ll at least give it a thought when it just isn’t happening for you.

Thanks for reading.

Chris,

Your literary, theatrical friend