“Hymie Goldman was a detective of no fixed abode, hairstyle or opinions; they all came and went like the north wind.”
Hymie Goldman, the “defective detective” of the cover, has been hired by a traffic-stopping blonde to retrieve a supposed family heirloom from her thieving sister: a golden pig. Hymie only just manages to avoid the bailiffs and death on the same day as he undertakes his mission, aided – or perhaps hindered? – by office apprentice Janis and pizza baron Benny.
I wanted to love this. I love detective stories, humour, and people behaving not as they should in north London (why is it always north London? Someone find me a book set south of the river). The humour in the first few pages made me chuckle. However, after a while the unusual writing style wore thin; the Penny brothers took turns to write this novel in parts, trying to out-do one another with ridiculous plot and ever more disasters for poor Hymie. The result, while yielding an unexpectedly consistent writing style and humour, feels like a boisterous puppy, wanting laughter for every sentence and sprinting off with the plot in uneven bounds. I have to confess, this book has confirmed to me that I shouldn’t be trying to read self-published books; others might have the patience to read through the difficult writing, but I have realised I like my reading more polished.
Rhian at It’s a Crime suggested that the humour may particularly appeal to men over 40, with which I agree – I also think the intensity was simply not directed at someone who wants to read the book in one or two sittings. Readers with only fifteen minutes to read at a time might have far more success with this lively and amusing debut.