Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Roger Silverwood
Robert Hale, April 2009
221 pages
18.99 GBP
ISBN: 0709087136

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DI Michael Angel finds that he has a number of cases on his plate ranging from the baffling, to the puzzling, to the more mundane. As far as the baffling is concerned, four men have had their middle fingers broken while sleeping in the same hotel. In the category of the puzzling a wealthy single woman has disappeared after marriage to a presumed con-man, but no record of the wedding can be found. As for the more mundane, two Manchester villains are trying to extend their operations to the (fictional) South Yorkshire town of Bromersley which is Angel's patch, and a mysterious assassin called The Fixer is bumping off assorted villains. On top of all that a dying man tells Angel how he acquired a massive ruby during the war which he was supposed to pass on to a Princess who was at school in England ; but when he tried to trace her after the War she had disappeared - he wishes Angel to track her down. Somehow in the course of the book this melange of plots are resolved in various ways.

The faults of WILD ABOUT HARRY, which, somewhat incredibly, is the thirteenth book in the DI Angel series, are legion. The writing, a few highly enjoyable similes aside, is little more than adequate, and the dialogue sometimes absurd. The characterisation, including that of Angel himself, is pretty minimal and certainly unmemorable. There is no psychological depth, and certainly no sociological observation of any acuity or interest (or indeed any great reality). The sense of location is almost non-existent. There are some rather tiresome, and highly unbelievable, action sequences. Yet despite all these many faults the book is actually quite enjoyable. One reason for this are a couple of the plot lines; in particular the four men with broken fingers offer a fascinating premise, and if the resolution is, in the end, somewhat disappointing it certainly makes its own kind of sense within the book's non-realist structure.

But the main reason for enjoying this book is that, except for those tiresome action sequences, it does not take itself too seriously. This alone is enough of an exception to make it something of a relief. The author's photo on the dust-jacket presents us with a chubby, smiling man who might best be described as jolly. And this is exactly how the better parts of this book might also so be described. And on occasion a jolly read is exactly what one might seek. The book's many faults certainly prevent one according it any serious critical attention, but its rather rare tone might be just what's required now and then.

Reviewed by Nick Hay, August 2009

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]