From Aberystwyth With Love

From Aberystwyth With Love
Author: Malcolm Pryce
Release Date: 2009
Bloomsbury

Louie Knight hasn’t had the most normal cases to solve in his last four mysteries, and this time things get even odder. With a sock received as payment from a Russian man called Uncle Vanya, Louie Knight and his sidekick Calamity are on the case of the whereabouts of a dead girl who has possessed Vanya’s daughter in a Russian version of Aberystwyth. Already it must sound amazing.

From Aberystwyth With Love is perhaps the best tale in the series so far. After four excellent dark comedy crime novels, the writing feels even more assured than before and past things bringing the series down into a slightly stale routine have kicked the bucket which has really helped bring the series up a level. With back story carefully explained and only popping up as little tiny weeny moments, FAWL can be picked up by a first time reader and they will understand everything without feeling like they are missing out too much on past events. Even though you should definitely pick all the other books up. Putting Louie’s love Myfanwy away in Switzerland was an excellent decision as she is no longer a prominent force of the plot.  The story doesn’t confine itself to one location either as our heroic duo travel to Romania and Russia, it has a wider scope of the world and it all connects together so perfectly well, less tangents and more focus on the case at hand. Calamity has a bigger role too as his assistant and the two work together to provide some hilarious dialogue.

The plot still has many unpredictable and unusual events such as a sunken down washing ashore once more, a spinning wheels salesman who is a true Mummy’s boy, a flirty young girl after Louie’s heart and drunken nights out with Uncle Vanya. Each and every character is strong and memorable, bringing love or pity as the Pryce desires While the story may have a multitude of tangents including a Vlad The Impaler sub plot, each chapter is always leading closer to the cases answers and the conclusion to the possessed girl story is handled with great care. It is the most cohesive plot yet and easily the most entertaining, thanks to the great Uncle Vanya who is a full of love from all, despite having such a dark past and emotional goal. While it may be a comedy detective novel poking fun at the genre, it is still a mature and very moving tale.

What really adds to the excellent plot and cast is the beautiful descriptions of people and their lives in Aberystwyth. Huge text chunks which flow so well, it’s almost like a perfect piece of poetry flowing off the page with a real underlying statement of a standard man’s life. Many moments I would stop the page and glance over again because of the sheer quality and impact the descriptions had on me. It shows as a writer I have a long way to go, and as a fan of the series it shows more people should be reading this great series. From Aberystwyth With Love is a story which will tickle all your varying emotions and have you longing to visit the great town of Aberystwyth. With a new novel out in August, it is time for you to get up to speed.

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