Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Dead Detectives

Being a massive fanboy of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) for the last four decades or so, a book featuring a dead detective should be an attractive prospect for me. I'm not comparing them though as they are two quite different beasts when all is read and done. Peg Herring's Dead Detective is a guy called Seamus who operates from a limbo between life and death cunningly incorporated as a swanky ocean liner. At the behest of the newly dead he takes on cases that resolve the recently deceased's unfinished business, in this case the suspicious death of a rich business man called Dunbar. This time he has to take along a headstrong female rookie called Mildred to help in his investigation. Dead for the Money is solidly written with well fleshed characters but is sabotaged from within by its own format. The Dead Detective goes about his business by hiding in the minds of the likely suspects or witnesses. In a way he inhabits the same sort of perspective as the reader and he's almost as helpless to influence events. In fact ninety percent of the time it's easy to forget Seamus and Mildred are part of the narrative at all. Ghostly gumshoes aside, the story still has a lot going for it; Dunbar's grandchildren Bud & Brodie are engaging and the story does build up to a thrilling finale.

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