Is there really no crime in Brighton ?

I am second to none in my admiration for Lynne Truss and her book Eats, Shoots and Leaves which made grammar and punctuation cool and popular for a very brief period. It was a joy to read about someone who also thought apostrophes are important and who cringes at the misuse of its and it’s. As a result of my residual affection for the author I decided to try her cosy crime series set in Brighton which commences with A Shot in the Dark.

It is Brighton in 1957 but an alternative Brighton where the local police inspector has decided that there is no longer any crime in the town. Into the police force comes Constable Twitten who has been transferred (he gets transferred a lot) and who immediately notices crime and tries to do something about it despite the criminals and the police not wishing him to point it out or to rock the boat. Twitten becomes involved in investigating the death of a theatre critic and uncovers more crimes than just murder.

I’m afraid that I found this book to be a bit silly. I have read plenty of cosy crime and reviewed most of it on this site and I am used to suspending my disbelief and accepting a few fantastic plot points but this book is almost cartoon like in the way that it treats events and characters (I was at one point reminded of that mild mannered janitor in Hong Kong Phooey from my youth). This isn’t very real at all and although I have read plenty of books which are pure fantasy and maybe even a bit silly (Jasper Fforde and Terry Pratchett come to mind) they worked better, for me, than this one does. I didn’t find this book as funny as many other reviewers as I felt that the humour was contrived and often heavy-handed.

Not one for me.

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