Sometimes when you read a mystery novel, you start to worry that the writer isn’t trying very hard. While the villain of the piece is being kept secret, it seems to be stunningly obvious who it is from the start, and you feel that you’re just treading water until they finally reveal what has been apparent to you from the offset. And sometimes, usually in the best mysteries, the last few chapters feel like you’ve been slapped in the face while the book yells “Gotcha!” at you, while revealing what has really been going on.
This is one of those books.
This is the third Mervyn Stone mystery by Nev Fountain, as published by Big Finish Productions – I keep plugging the publisher, by the way, as I’m not sure the books are available in normal bookshops. I’ve reviewed the first two here and here, so it only seems fair to review the third.
Mervyn, script editor of the belated sci-fi soap opera Vixens from the Void, has been hired to help with the 21st century relaunch of the show, mainly because he managed to maintain the rights to the show’s main monsters. Things are going predictably badly when Mervyn starts to realise someone is trying to kill him – only they’re not doing a particularly good job of it.
I’m probably repeating myself from the other reviews, but this is a superb book. Well written, a likeable protagonist, genuinely funny and most importantly for me, the best plotted mystery that I’ve read for ages. I can’t think of a single aspect of the plot that is completely irrelevant and yet when you finish the book, you’ll be wondering how on earth you didn’t put two and two together. It seems so obvious in hindsight, but I can almost guarantee you won’t sort it out beforehand.
Sorry if this sounds like an advert, but these books are out in paperback soon. If you like mysteries, buy them. It’s as simple as that. If you want a taste of the sort of thing to expect, there’s a seven part podcast available here which should help convince you one way or the other. Enjoy!