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Philip K. Jones reviews ‘The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore’ by Dan Andriacco

11 Dec

“This is the fourth book in the author’s series featuring Jefferson Cody and Sebastian McCabe.  It also includes a short story as well as the title novel.  In fact, the short story precedes the novel in time of occurrence by a day or two, so they should be read in reverse order of inclusion.

As I said, this is the fourth book in this series, so it includes a number of familiar characters, both in person and mentioned in passing.  Those who enjoyed the first three books will also enjoy this one.  In fact, I found it more of a reading pleasure than the earlier books.  I was not really comfortable with the romance between Jeff Cody and Lynda Teal as presented in the first two books and I mislaid my copy of the third before getting a chance to read it.  I find them much more pleasant to deal with as newlyweds than I did as on again/off again sweethearts.  Further, the banter between Cody and McCabe seems more adult and more between equals than it did in earlier books.

The extra characters peculiar to this book also seem more real and interesting than those in the earlier books.  The police personnel and the ex-wives all seem to have more substance than similar, secondary characters in the earlier books.  Of course, it may simply be that the author is growing as a writer, but I enjoyed this book more than the earlier ones from the series that I have read.  In addition, I found the short story quite interesting.  The detective work in this tale is performed mostly by the new Mrs. Cody, Lynda Teal, and she makes a respectable detective in this case.

Any Sherlockian (“Holmesian” in Great Britain) will instantly recognize this story as one that parallels the similarly-named Untold Tale cited in “The Problem of Thor Bridge.”  This has been a popular story for would-be Doctor Watsons to attempt for years.  My database lists thirty six attempts to tell this tale, ranging from radio scripts and plays through a narrative pun, short stories and novellas up to full novels.

The mystery portion of this book is also well-crafted.  The villain is hard to discern and the motives involved are even more obscure.  In addition, the author manages to wave a number of plausible substitutes convincingly in the face of the reader.  All-in-all, this is a fun read in a series that keeps getting better with each new tale.  Editing is well-done, with Brits speaking the Queen’s English and Americans saying whatever comes to mind.  Even the spelling seems well in hand.”

The Disappearance of Mr James Phillimore is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone).

mr james phillimore

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