A Shot in the Dark couples suspense with dark hilarity in the manner of the 1955 British black comedy film 'The Ladykillers,' thus delivering (just in time) the funniest crime novel of 2018.” The Wall Street Journal on A SHOT IN THE DARK
“The craft and care with which author Truss weaves her facts into a richly narrated but utterly hilarious tapestry is amazing. The reader may find himself wondering how she manages to keep her facts straight as she throws his own mental processes into such a delightful muddle.” New York Journal of Books
“The author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves brings her customary wit to her first detective novel, set in 1957 in Brighton, England, and centered on the murder of a theater critic.” Publishers Weekly Mystery and Thriller Top 10 Pick on A SHOT IN THE DARK
“Truss' language, unsurprisingly, sparkles, and her portrayal of class and its exasperating effect on even the British underworld is memorable. Readers of Agatha Christie are a natural audience for this study in peculiarity.” Booklist on A SHOT IN THE DARK
“This farcical tale is packed with interwoven plotlines, clues strewn about like confetti and a comically oblivious chief inspector. It reads like a stage comedy . . . Sharp and witty, A Shot in the Dark is a good time.” Bookpage, "Top Pick in Cozies" on A SHOT IN THE DARK
“[An] entertaining new crime series … Truss's affection for a rollicking, twisty caper has transferred to the page with ease … There's some fine storytelling on display here.” Observer on A SHOT IN THE DARK
“Funny, clever, charming, imaginative, nostalgic and gently satirical.” The Times on A SHOT IN THE DARK
“With plenty of brightly coloured bucket-and-spadery, including ghost trains and Punch and Judy and variety acts, this clever, tongue-in-cheek escapade is a perfect summer read.” Guardian on A SHOT IN THE DARK
“It takes a writer of Lynne Truss's wit and intelligence ... to take on both the cosy and comic fields, shaking them up to forge something fresh and beguiling ... Delightfully witty.” Independent on A SHOT IN THE DARK
Grammarian Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves) continues her foray into crime fiction with the follow-up to A Shot in the Dark. Last year's title introduced Constable Twitten of the Brighton police force, his Inspector, Steine, and their charwoman, Mrs. Groyne, who is always ready to listen and bring tea and cake. This second book has a cast of Brighton denizens—tourists, citizens, law enforcement officers, and all manner of class types who go about their summertime activities in 1957—until a body is found. Great attention to details of the period and the various conflicts between the social classes is lavished on the setting and characters, citing the real article "U and Non-U" published by a linguist about this time, which distinguishes vocabulary between the upper and middle classes. This plays into the plot. The author's flair for language adds to the book, as do the colorful "extras," including the Brighton Belles (pretty young women who act as goodwill ambassadors), the musicians who perform at a local venue, a humbug seller, and horrendously fake waxwork parlor shopkeepers. VERDICT The precise wordplay and convoluted crime plot of this 1950s British blackish comedy will please fans and attract more readers to the series.—Mary K. Bird-Guilliams, Chicago
Criminal conspiracy doesn't rain in 1957 Brighton: It pours.
Waiting on a staircase inside the Maison du Wax for blind sculptor Pierre Tussard and his daughter and assistant, Angélique, to finish preliminary measurements of Brighton Constabulary wireless star Inspector Geoffrey St John Steine, their latest model, Constable Peregrine Twitten overhears two teenagers whispering how much they'd love to run away together and how careful they have to be around the people who cut off Uncle Ken's head. Laboring to remember all the proper names the couple dropped—Blackmore, Hoagland, Dickie—Twitten has no clue that he's stumbled onto the tip of a very large and felonious iceberg. Further enlightenment arrives, along with further mystification, when Peter Dupont, the neophyte town council clerk Twitten overheard, is found with his throat cut, and his girlfriend turns out to be Deirdre Benson, whose brothers, Frank and Bruce, along with their mother, run a profitable family crime syndicate out of the Black Cat club. And there's more. Veteran con artist Joseph "Wall-Eye" Marriott accosts Adelaide Vine and her friend Phyllis, a pair of Brighton Belles given the job of helping strangers; then he pretends to be Lord Melamine Colchester and offers to sell them gold at the bargain price of 25 pounds a brick—that is, unless it really is the Marquess of Colchester and those bricks really are gold. Dickie George, a lounge singer at the Black Cat, emerges from a week in the Brighton sewers only to be struck dead by a giant piece of candy. And Palmeira Groynes is ready to execute any number of foul schemes that Twitten could foil if only he could persuade Inspector Steine that the constabulary's charlady was the evil genius he's recognized as such ever since A Shot in the Dark (2018). Truss' period burlesque extends from individual character types and obligatory scenes to the longer narrative arcs beloved of more recent franchises.
Too relentlessly facetious to take seriously but more frantic than funny.