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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

"Hazell and the Three-Card Trick" by P. B. Yuill

Hazell is a Londoner, ex copper who, after losing his girlfriend and alcoholism, sets up as a very sleazy 'enquiry agent' and sets about tracking a three-card trick gang from Oxford Street who were involved in an altercation with a man who fell in front of a London Underground train. There are links to a previous case trying to find out how a cruise ship casino was cheated.

This somewhat overused format is given fresh life by the London patois and the wise-cracking, although too many of the expressions are explained. And there is a brilliant angry dad who sounds like Alf Garnett: "'Wot's got into you woman?' roared the old man." The dialogue is written in right cockney innit innit.

It did remind me slightly of the Saint books. I think it was trying to be Raymond Chandler.

This is the middle Hazell book. It was preceded by Hazell plays Solomon and succeeded by Hazell and the Menacing Jester.

There were some great expressions:

  • "It was one of those damp February afternoons when the sky is like dirty dishwater and the brick walls are sweating old grease." (p 5)
  • "A conga line of chanting Hare Krishners was jigging happily along the northside kerb." (p 5)
  • "A mournful stare that made your average bloodhound seem like Woody Woodpecker." (p 5)
  • "right under the useless empty road under the useless empty skyscraper" (p 5)
  • "I'm like the weather forecast, only bright in patches." (p 30)
  • "One sniff of bother and they're off quicker than a bride's nightie" (p 44)
  • "the flash of blue fivers brought the sheep to the barbers" (p 60)
  • "For some reason [at night] things stand out better in peripheral vision." (p 71)

A fun comedy thriller. April 2017; 204 pages

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