A superbly gripping and blackly funny mystery by the king of the comic crime caper.
He’s the Man With No Name and the owner of No Alibis, a mystery bookshop in Belfast. But when a detective 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 involved. It’s an easy way to sell books to his gullible customers and Alison, the beautiful girl in the jewellery shop across the road, will surely be impressed. Except she’s not – because she can see the bigger picture.
And when they break into the shuttered shop next door on a dare, they have their answer. Suddenly they’re catapulted along a murder trail which leads them from small-time publishing to Nazi concentration camps and serial killers.
©2009 Colin Bateman (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
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"Mystery, humor & literary nuances - GREAT"
The wry, black humor was enticing as well as the author's knowledge of mysteries in general. I love how unique it was and the witty prose.
That I was never bored and continually entertained.
He was a most engaging reader and I loved the Irish lilt. Very easy to listen to and the articulation great. He didn't "overdo" it as some readers do. I could listen to him for hours on end.
Murder is the business of this mystery bookshop.
It is not often one encounters a truly amusing mystery that is contemporary and draws on history. This novel did both. I have bought one of his books before and now shall buy more. The author reminds me a bit of David Lodge and Tom Sharpe. I really applaud this author.
"Great beginning to a wonderful series..."
I really enjoyed this series - humorous and dark at the same time. Quirky characters that you can't help but become friends with.
Mystery Man himself was a delight - I wish that there were more than just the three books in the series.
This book made me laugh out loud at times... which could be a bit akward as I walked to and from work. I must have made many passersby wonder just what I was up to!
If you haven't tried this series - do so! You won't be disappointed.
"At least one grunt or groan per page"
There is at least one grunt or groan per page as the Mystery bookstore owner turned PI in this clever novel jabs you with tight-lipped one liners, followed by roundhouse silly/fun shaggy dogs. This book is loads of fun and the narrator is perfect for it.
"quirky, in a very good way"
This was a great book, quirky in every pleasant respect. Great writing and a great story with a wonderful, eccentric cast. Very highly recommended.
"Mediocre murder mystery"
Everyone would probably find large parts of it boring.
Made the central character more appealing for one.
None of them.
Basically rubbish. It is one of worst mystery books I have read.
"Just get it"
Don't bother reading anything else. Just listen to this book. It is the best credit you will spend.
I said don't read anymore...why waste your time scrolling down when there is an " add to basket" button up there.
Buy this book and you will already have your next 3 reads lined up. As soon as you finish you will want to read the other 3 mystery man books. Story, characters, narration are top rate. The laughs, sarcasm and general humour in this book are proper, laugh out loud. Buy and enjoy.
"Dont know if I love him or hate him?"
NEVER has a book confused me so much - I am not sure if I LOVE or HATE the main man! sometimes I am listening and laughing my head off others I am thinking what a *********
i have told so many people about this book yet still find it hard to describe to anyone, its is both funny, sad, insightful, thrilling, twisting and clever - in short brilliant really. The main mystery man is both genius and idiot but it is one of the best things i have ever listened to, went straight on audible and got the next one! I am a really picky listener often only getting books that are either Dr Who, Terry Pratchett or something I have already read and want to listen to, this grabbed me in a sale and I am so glad I took a chance well worth a listen
"A thoroughly enjoyable romp!"
The narrator completely embodied the central character, which is vital for a first person narrative
The story was well paced, started out with some anecdote style episodes before getting stuck into the more meaty central case. The foibles of the central character are released to the reader (listener) slowly enough for them to be revelatory.
Stephen Armstrong's accent is, of course, perfect. He expresses the required sarcasm and knowing asides wonderfully.
I found myself laughing aloud on occasion and certainly smiling to myself on many occasions.
What a find this author is. This book was laugh out load funny in places. The story is very plausible and the reading was just right.
This book is a tome of intrigue, espionage, courage, incontestable and allergy ridden bravado. The laughter escaped from my lips before I was aware of it. The plot was emotionally charged that I found myself constantly listening. The writing was prolific with a twist of comedic elements that surprise the reader. I was enthralled by the story because it was told with a depth and a simplicity. I loved the reader's irish brogue. The conclusion is a twist worth waiting for. Magnificent indeed.
"Fresh, funny and fascinating"
I loved the droll humour of this yarn with its mini-plots and twists and turns. The self-deprecating neurotic hero is one I hope we'll hear more of, and the reading was so good I kept forgetting that it wasn't a real person. If it has a fault, I think I'd have to say the denouement was a tad predictable, but all that led up to it was sheer enjoyment.
Brilliant. Good story, good narration, lots of intriguing side lines all coming together at the end. Mixed with laugh out loud moments makes it a great book.
"A bit patchy and at times rather slow"
Hmm, I have to say I found this a bit patchy, self indulgent and at times rather slow. To be sure it has its funny moments, and our somewhat paranoid, hypochondriac “hero” with his myriad obsessions makes an interesting change from the usual manly men that inhabit private eye books. He’s a coward, mostly focussed on himself and his own self-interests, and at times his behaviour borders on the downright creepy. I didn’t like him.
I was almost put off at the start, when the book seems to be setting up as a series of daft little mysteries, but stick with it, and the ‘Case of the Musical Jews’ comes along and forms the backbone of the rest of the book. This does build to a fine denouement - albeit a trifle slowly, which I vaguely saw coming. I don't think the police would really have allowed him his moment of glory, but it makes good fiction. The end sets up the nameless hero (I think he’s nameless - if he is named I didn’t spot it), and the jaw-droppingly tolerant and forgiving mother of his yet to be born children, for the next book.
There’s a brief violent scene towards the end where, in typical movie or computer game fashion, had the level of violence as described really been used against a human body, they’d likely have died. I found it disturbing, and completely out of character from the rest of the book. I think it was at that point I decided I really, really didn’t like the main character.
Brilliantly read by Stephen Armstrong, altho’ as a southern englishwoman I have no idea how good his Belfast accent was - sounded a bit Dublin to my ears at times, but what do I know?! I was deeply impressed by his coping with having to say “no” about 30 times on the trot at one point; he managed to keep me listening and expecting…. something.
Will I read/listen to the next in the series? No.
"grew on me"
It took me a while to enjoy this book the humor in the first few chapters was a bit obvious (a man walked into a bar....) but as it progressed i found myself laughing out loud at the 'hero' in the story who is not in the least bit likable and never fails to reach new lows.
well worth a read, it will cheer you up, not least because you will (hopefully) realise you don't know anyone quite so selfish and rude!
"Sooo slow paced..."
Stephen Armstrong was super with his narration, however the story it self was so slow paced that I would think twice or five times before choosing another book by Colin Bateman.
The plot was so unexpected, that all the time you think that everything that goes around is just a peace of imagination.
Full into dedication
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