Sunday, 22 July 2012
Mystery Review: 'Gently Does it' by Alan Hunter
The first in a very long series of amiable detective murder mysteries, in the tradition of Agatha Christie. There’s a murder, local plods jump to the obvious conclusion, our hero patiently steers things in the right direction, the villain is apprehended and all is well with the world. There are some nice characterisation touches - the daughter of the Dutch businessman has been very sheltered, and still has a noticeable accent, while the son, more out in the world, has mostly lost his. But the author tries a little too hard with the charming eccentricity of the detective - the bumbling act, apparently not taking too much notice but seeing a great deal, the peppermint creams, the ambling about without obvious purpose but just happening to be in the right place at the right time. I see what he was getting at, but it doesn’t quite convince me. But things might settle down in future books (I got several when they were a very low price). A lightweight, unchallenging but enjoyable read, with some nostalgic details from its era (1955). Three stars.