Friday, August 30, 2019

Gumshoe Blues by Paul D. Brazill

Funny and noir are two words not frequently linked. But Paul D. Brazill, master of the comic crime novel and short story, pulls it off. His writing has you laughing while it leads you down a dark alley and punches you in the gut.

In his new book, Gumshoe Blues: The Peter Ord Yarns, Brazill tells four tales of his unlikely private detective. The stories are: “Gumshoe Blues,” “Mr. Kiss and Tell,” “Who Killed Skippy?” and “The Lady and the Gimp.”

The first, “Gumshoe Blues,” is long enough to qualify as a novella, or at least a novelette. At first it seems to be a rambling, episodic excursion through a “seen better days” English city.

Ord picks up odd jobs – very odd for a PI – then often gets sidetracked, drinks too much and has a tendency to screw things up. Anyone who has ever had a blistering hangover will get a charge out of Ord’s morning afters. The writing puts you in the head of Peter Ord. By the end, the loose threads are all neatly pulled together and tied into a satisfying knot.

The fun of a Brazill story is not only in the plot and the unique situations, but also the kaleidoscope of characters. Everyone of them is vivid and comes with a unique history. Brazill provides all this in a few seemingly simple strokes creating places and lives, while he cracks you up with his observations. He is a magician who diverts your attention with humor while he works his craft.

Gumshoe Blues: The Peter Ord Yarns was published today (August 30). Paul D. Brazill sent me a copy a few weeks ago. Other Brazill books are Last Year’s Man, Guns of Brixton, Too Many Crooks, A Case Of Noir, Kill Me Quick! His short stories have appeared in many anthologies.

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