Last time we saw Louie Knight he was talking to ventriloquist dummies and looking for a missing teacher before confronting a talking brain. This time the weird scale is upped a little as he has monkeys to talk to, a hundred and fifty year old case to solve and the task of tracking down his missing girlfriend after he was drugged with ice cream. Things get a little dark in Aberystwyth.
The Unbearable Lightness is perhaps the best of the stories yet, Malcolm Pryce’s writing seems to improve each time, which going by his hard boiled dialogue, twisting mysteries and enjoyable descriptions with a hint of amusement, is saying something. Each page is lavished with great care, nothing feels rushed and while loose ends are all over the place for about two thirds of the book, once everything pulls together it is a feeling much like finishing that tricky jigsaw puzzle. Who plays jigsaw puzzles anymore?!
It is also an easier tale to get into for newcomers than Last Tango In Aberystwyth as returning characters are given some background on who the hell they actually are and their relationship with Louie Knight but I still think it would be best to start with Mon Amour Aberystwyth just because these are amazing novels worth reading in order. It also surprises me my creative writing lecturers seem completely unaware of these Welsh detective tales as they really are masterpieces which have inklings of Chandler and enough creative ideas and quality to stand among the best writers. I love a good detective tale and what better than a funny one which sets itself in an amusement town?
Though this tale has a darker edge than past novels especially as far as Louie’s girlfriend Myfanwy is concerned. She’s had it rough in the books from being targeted to being kidnapped and now becoming incredibly sick before becoming kidnapped again but this time the story has a frantic edge as Louie can’t piece things together quite the way he wants. It had a sense of anxiety running throughout the whole story and even though he has time for nuns and monkeys, he is aware time is potentially running out. The villain of the story is given a lot of good grounding though I feel his presence should have been a little heavier rather than the meeting happening in the second to last chapter but he makes a good case and the mentality of the series goes through the roof for an ending plot which at first confused me, but then formed in my head as I realised how much of an amazing idea it all was. And it references Jurassic Park, that must amount to something.