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The Crack Magazine


A Shot in the Dark

Lynne Truss, Raven Books

Set in 1950s Brighton, Lynne Truss’s latest is subtitled ‘A Constable Twitten Mystery’ and is the first in a mooted series, adapted from her BBC Radio 4 show. The town is policed by Inspector Steine who is something of a local celebrity after presiding over the ‘Middle Street Massacre’ of 1951 in which two local gangs wiped themselves out while Steine tucked into an ice-cream a street away from the action. Clever of him, you may think, but Steine is as thick as they come, and believes that Brighton is crime free. This notion gets turned on its head when a leading (and much despised) theatre critic is murdered at the opening night of a new play. This causes Steine much consternation, as does the fact that an Inspector Twitten has been assigned to his station, a man with altogether different ideas on policing. The plot is nicely twisty, but this is more farce than murder mystery, and is let down by the fact that it is not quite funny enough. It could have done with the absurd logic of Douglas Adams or the wordplay of PG Wodehouse, but it never scales those heights.