Meet Augustus Mandrell
I've just finished the first volume, Of All the Bloody Cheek, and I'm here to tell you McAuliffe must be one of the slyest, hippest, funniest, sharpest most satirically minded writers who has ever written crime fiction. He offers the reader thrills, surprise endings, laugh-out-loud jokes, and a memorable protagonist. Mandrell may remind you of the Saint or of James Bond, but he's deadpan funnier than both without being at all groaningly spoofy. And he' s not all thrills and laughs, either. The third story in Of All the Bloody Cheek, for example, has a rather poignant moment just before its end.
The stories are set in Europe on the fringes of World War II, and a sharp vein of political and social satire runs through them. The satire is occasionally ahead of its time. Here, for example, is Mandrell, who also narrates the stories, commenting on two military men's assessment of Mandrell's methods. Mandrell, one of the men has said, operates through a network of intermediaries that includes "disbarred barristers, unlicensed doctors, a homosexual or two.":
"This homosexual angle," Lieutenant Proferra said. "What about Mandrell himself?" As I mentioned, Proferra was an American.
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© Peter Rozovsky 2006
humorous crime fiction