The new Harpur and Iles novel from Bill James!
Most of the novel is told as a series of flashback chapters, narrated alternately by Ember and Davidson. I'm not sure what the technique contributes to the story, but James again manages nicely to recapture Ember's pathetic ambitions for his club, the Monty, whose social standing is, now and forever, "admittedly not quite as he would have it, owing to present high yob, slob, slapper and villain membership levels." And one has to admire the sang-froid of Davidson, who, begins Chapter 30 thus:
"In the morning at The Mandrake Esther went downstairs first, leaving Gerald patching himself up while she looked for the manager to apologize and settle the account. ... `There are some breakages in our room, three-twelve,' she said. `Obviously inadvertent, but I hope you can give me a quick estimate of the cost and I'll do a checque to cover our stay and the accidents with the curtains, the basin in the en suite, and the TV set. I think the sheets will wash out fine if you put them through twice, and the mattress is absolutely OK."
|Your humble blogkeeper|
(left); Bill James (right)
Though recent Harpur and Iles novels have fallen short of the level established in, say, the first sixteen books, the wordplay is as exuberant as always, and Ralph's patent combination of cowardice and tactical intelligence come to the fore as well as it did in the early novel Panicking Ralph. James completists will want to read Disclosures, and other readers might like it as well, though I'd advice beginning with the earlier novels.
(Read the Detectives Beyond Borders interview with Bill James at http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/search/label/Bill%20James%20interview)