Book: Something Nasty in the Woodshed by Kyril Bonfiglioli

Pretty good, somewhat unusual detective novel

Kyril Bonfiglioli
Something Nasty in the Woodshed
Overlook Press, 2005 (originally published in the UK in 1976)
ISBN: 1-58567-564-4
174 pages

Something Nasty in the Woodshed is a detective novel, but a somewhat unusual one. You might almost call it a modernist take on a detective novel. Our detective is Charlie Mordecai, an art dealer who is fond, indeed over-fond, of food and drink. He and his wife live on the British Channel Island of Jersey, where some natives speak an old Norman dialect and some customs seem rather antique.

It seems that there is a serial rapist in the area in which Charlie and his wife live and, working from some distinguishing aspects of the crimes, Charlie persuades some friends to engage in a rather elaborate and unusual plan to stop the criminal.

There are a few nods to P. G. Wodehouse in the novel, but Charlie Mordecai is not similar to Bertie Wooster in any simple way. For one, Bertie was more politically-correct.

Charlie's narration is entertaining, but he doesn't necessarily come off as being a very nice person. Take, for example:

    It all started -- or at any rate the narrative I have to
    offer all started -- at Easter last year: that season at
    which we remind each other of the judicial murder
    of a Jewish revolutionary two thousand years ago
    by distributing chocolate eggs to the children of
    people we dislike
    (p. 21)

The book's ending is satisfactory, but somewhat unusual for a detective novel. If that won't bother you, this short book is likely to provide a few hours of enjoyable entertainment.

There's a tiny editing error in that there's "lam" where "I am" is wanted (p. 67).

Posted: Wed - February 6, 2008 at 06:52 PM   Main   Category: