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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Favourite Comic Crime Novels

Recently over on Detectives Beyond Borders, Peter cited a few examples of some of his favourite comic crime stories, listing Joe Gores (I second that), Donald Westlake's Dortmunder series (second that too), Norbert Davis (yup, yup, agree, agree). He then asked for a few of our own so, reaching for the spectrum of Australian novels, allow me to name a few from around these parts...

Max Barry - Company. This was released earlier this year and is a wickedly funny corporate satire that will appeal to anyone who has ever sat in a 5 foot x 5 foot cubicle. The ridiculousness of the petty office squabbles, accusations of who ate the last donut and the fear that the Personnel Department can strike into the rest of the organisation just rings extraordinarily truly.

Robert Gott - The Will Power novels surprised me with their great appeal, particularly when I was all set for a more serious detective mystery when I picked up the first book, Good Murder. Will Power is a man who is quick to point out the faults of others while remaining completely oblivious to his own glarin shortcomings. The farcical nature of the detective-work undertaken by Power is matched by his ability to completely and utterly piss people off within minutes of meeting him. Read Good Murder, A Thing of Blood and Amongst the Dead.

Shane Maloney - The Murray Whelan series is hugely popular in Australia thanks to the biting political satire that saturates it. Through his main character Maloney wryly comments on some of the most outlandish aspects of Australian politics and big business and while you're laughing at the comic situation, you're struck by the fact that this kind of thing has happened in real life.

Geoff McGeachin - Geoff's latest book, Sensitive New Age Spy, is the second Alby Murdoch comic spy thriller. This follows his outrageously titled Fat, Fifty & F***ed which spears wildly into madcap encounters with offbeat characters up and down Australia's Eastern seaboard. McGeachin delights in flirting with the ridiculous while retaining a tenuously sober grip on his plots delivering a more serious Hiaasen-like message. The humour is dry and his characters laconic and unmistakably Australian.

Robert G. Barrett - Speaking of unmistakably Australian, bloody hell, meet Les Norton, the knockabout Aussie larrikin brawler from Queensland who came down to Sydney to play football before a busted knee sent him to the door of an illegal casino as a bouncer. Occasionally the humour has a tendency to degenerate to the juvenile level but the series provides plenty of "brain in neutral" reading.

Scott Bywater - Published by the independent Equilibrium Books, Bywater's comic detective series features Sam Chauvel is pure satire reveling in the ineptitude and inexperience of the lead character, much like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series does.

Chris Nyst - I'm going to throw in Nyst's legal thrillers Gone and Crook As Rookwood due to the sparkling wit and wry observations on Australia's political and legal fraternities. That's for starters but what has my mouth watering in anticipation of his next book is the prospect of once again meeting up with his obnoxious defense attorney Eddie Moran who quite simply steals every scene.

I'm sure Peter will be keen to hear from anyone else with their own favourite humorous crime authors they'd like to offer.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Thanks for the mention. I'll throw a plug your way on my blog, and we can compare notes about our replies.

I've read Chris Nyst and Shane Maloney, and both are very well worth reading. The other names are new to me, for which, thanks.

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Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
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