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 !
your literary, theatrical friend