Herring on the Nile by L C Tyler

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Herring on the Nile by L C Tyler

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Third-rate novelist Ethelred Tressider hopes to take his beloved on a romantic cruise up the Nile, with the excuse that it is research for his next book. Unfortunately, matters of the heart do not go smoothly for our hero and he ends up travelling instead with his literary agent Elsie Thirkettle. Still, despite her bossy and forthright manner he still believes it will be possible to enjoy his trip — until the moment when the body is discovered, that is.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 264 Date: August 2012
Publisher: Pan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780330472159

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A motley crowd of oddball characters (few of whom end up being who they say they are), find themselves as travelling companions on a luxury paddle steamer, cruising up the Nile. And when a murder occurs, it soon becomes clear that only a member of the crew or one of the guests could have done the dastardly deed. A couple of amateur detectives have to work fast to discover who pulled the trigger. Sound familiar?

L C Tyler's Herring series, about a bumbling, hen-pecked gentleman novelist and his rather assertive (to put it politely) literary agent, is a charming and extremely witty take on the novels of Agatha Christie. Part-tribute, part-pastiche, the books utilise the set pieces and clichés of the genre to create joyously silly romps. They retain all the upper-middle-class glamour and insouciance of the Golden Age, while placing themselves very decidedly in the twenty-first century: mobile phones feature frequently, and the writing credentials of a certain Dan Brown are once again called into question. In this particular book, the deed could only have been committed by one of a very restricted group of people, but the discovery of the villain is made complicated by a multiplicity of sub-plots, including the very up-to-date theme of terrorism.

Poor Ethelred has decided to visit Egypt. Theoretically he is seeking inspiration for his next detective story (he writes crime books under two different names, and romance under a third), but underlying this is his desire to share a romantic few days with his almost-fiancée Annabelle, known to the world at large as the beautiful widow Lady Muntham (although Elsie, in her more trenchant moments, tends to describe her as a pneumatic gold-digger who used to be a pole dancer and who, worst of all, is not even a natural blonde). As usual, events conspire to provide the third-rate writer with more than enough material for his story, some of it at uncomfortably close quarters in the form of a dead body, the secret police and a seriously useless private detective.

This plot summary notwithstanding, the actual pursuit of the baddie is only part of the charm of this book. Indeed, it won't be very difficult for the attentive reader to work out who killed the victim, and even to have a stab (excuse the pun) at the motive, well before our two unlikely sleuths. But then, Ethelred and Elsie have never claimed to be good at solving murders. What delights here is the interplay of characters, the sly digs at other crime stories, and the sparklingly witty one-liners. Our hero may be an mild-mannered gentleman of the old school, who is hectored and harassed by the women in his life, but he has a sharp and cynical eye, and a fine ability to turn a phrase which makes one wonder why his books do not sell better. I knew that, just as soon as she had finished her biscuit, her expression would be one of noble self-sacrifice

This book, like the others in the series, is funny, clever and well-plotted, and will be greatly appreciated by those seeking well-written light holiday reading.

You don't need to read this series in order, but getting to know our friends Ethelred and Elsie better is highly recommended. Bookbag really enjoyed The Herring In The Library, the third in the series.

Buy Herring on the Nile by L C Tyler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Herring on the Nile by L C Tyler at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Herring on the Nile by L C Tyler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Herring on the Nile by L C Tyler at Amazon.com.


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