Newest Review: ... of ja (yes) and nein (no), maybe the word 'yeo' should be added to the English vocab. What speaks for the thriller theory is that there ... more
It's a Mystery why I've never read this author before
Mystery Man - Bateman
Member Name: hollywoodmum
Mystery Man - Bateman
Advantages: Great plot, great characters, funny, witty and gripping
He's the man with no name and the owner of No Alibi's a mystery bookshop in Belfast. But when a dectective agency next door goes bust, the agency's clients start calling into his shop asking him to solve their cases.
It's not as if there's any danger invovlved. It's an easy way to sell books to his gullible customers and Alison, the beautiful girl in the jewellery shop accross the road, will surely be impressed.
Except she's not - because she can see the bigger picture. And when the break into the shuttered shop next door on a dare, they have there answer. Suddenly they are catapulted along a murder trail which leads them from small-time publishing to modern dance to Nazi secrets and serial killers....
Colin Bateman (or Bateman as he is usually just known as) was a journalist in Ireland before becming a full time writer. His first novel was Divorcing Jack and it won Betty Trask award. He is mostly famed for writing the Murphy's law novels which also became a success on the small screen. Bateman also writes childrens fiction as well as screenplays for film and television.
Our hero, the man with no name is quite happy running his own bookshop, living with his mother and admiring the girl of his dreams from afar until the private dective agency next door shuts down and it's clients turn to our hero for help. The cases are quite simple cases of missing trousers and graffiti at first that is until Daniel Trevor walks into No Alibi's wanting to know the whereabouts of Malcolm Carlyle, the private eye from the shop next door.
It turns out Daniel a publisher, had paid Malcolm to fly to Frankfurt and find his missing wife but never heard off him again. Our hero begins looking into the case and soon has attracted the attention of Alison (the love of his life from the jeweller's over the road). When it looks like he has no leads Alsion , desperate to be his side kick, encourages him to break into the shop next door where they discover the fate of Malcolm Carlyle. Dead for weeks and decorated with magic tree air fresheners to disguise the smell. Our hero and Alison are now suspects and soon eveybody involved in this case, The Case Of The Dancing Jews, starts dropping like flies, no good for a paranoid hyprocondriac book seller. it then becomes a race to solve the case beofre he or Alison com to real harm.
They say 'never judge a book by it's cover' but to honest that is exactly what I did here. The cover was so simple yet eye catching with it's purple and hite writing on a pitch black background I needed to know more. The blurb didn't actually do much for me but the fact it was one of Richard And Judy's Summer Reads (I don't even watch it anymore) and the endorsements on the back cover from various magazines and Jame Nesbitt swayed the decision for me eventhough crime/mystery isn't usually a genre I go for.
From the first page the novel was funny and witty whcih made me want to read more. When our hero gets tangled up in The Case Of The Dancing Jews the book then also gets gripping and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.
The main characters in the book are very well written our hero has serious issues he doesn't really like people, has never been out of Belfast, never had a girlfriend and still lives with his over baring mother who seems to hate him. The fact that he's well out of his comfort zone. Despite all this he's witty and sarcastic. Alison on the other hand is probably his polar opposite funny, bright, brave and beautiful she enjoys winding him up and the love story that developes between them although hilarious is also compelling. The other characters in the book are mainly small but yet all play huge parts.
The book also has a serious side,The Case Of The Dancing Jews has a lot to do with Anna Mayerova/Smith's book, which Daniel and his wife were publishing and trying to pitch before she disappeared. Although old and infirm Anna's recount of her days as a prisoner in Auschwitz is quite emotional.
As I've said I don't go in for this genre but I loved trying to figure out who was perpitrator and the big reveal at the end does not disapoint one bit.
I would highly recommend this book and think that I will be reading a few more by bateman in the future.
I bought 2 paperbacks at ASDA for £7 (the other one is Dawn French's Dear Fatty which I have yet to read) on it's own it would have been £3.98 but the r.r.p is £7.99
Also on ciao under same user name
Summary: Fab funny crime fiction