Don’t Cry For Me Aberystwyth

Don’t Cry For Me Aberystwyth
Author: Malcolm Pryce
Release Date: 2007
Bloomsbury

It’s Christmas and Louie Knight won’t be wrapping up his presents anytime soon thanks to Santa being murdered in a back alley in China Town. Despite being the wrong time of the year to read a Christmas crime novel, I knew there was always time for Malcolm Pryce and his comedy tales. Probably not bad luck…

Business is the same as usual for Louie Knight. An obscure crime and objective appears, this time involving a dead Santa, a missing coat and a potential child from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, plus a jealous woman on the prowl. Then we have Louie wandering the streets of Aberystwyth meeting strange characters involving circus performers, ice cream men, corrupt cops and war veterans. A bit of rum is involved to get them to speak and he ends up with some crisis involving his girlfriend Myfanwy. It’s expected but still surprising as the plot unfolds, and four books in the story realises it treads over familiar ground by poking fun at it. You can feel a feeling of tiredness and dread as you read Louie’s thoughts on the twisting case and his large descriptions on areas and people bring much misery and comedy into the mix. The descriptions run of on tangents as do the large character speeches, sometimes feeling a bit like Malcolm is showing off,  but it is still as page turning and exciting as ever. It’s a good crime too though not as personally impacting on Louie now Myfanwy isn’t the centre of the plot. It makes for a fresh change though doesn’t feel as important as previous crimes which directly link to Louie’s own life. This time troubles are just because of him snooping around.

Things don’t piece together completely till the very end and most of the story is Louie dealing with problems related to the crime, but not answering the questions. It seems by the end it is more about Louie sorting his own problems out than the case itself which seems to quietly wrap up on its own. It’s a book full of death, lies and manipulation, but also one of beautifully dreary descriptions on general life and the warm tales of friendship and love. Four books and still Malcolm Pryce makes Aberystwyth a magical world to become absorbed into. Christmas has come early for me.

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