Admirers of Peter Kerrâ€™s Mallorcan semi-autobigraphical travel books will be intrigued by this latest offering. Cosy crime combined with the travel market, is how itâ€™s billed. Kerrâ€™s hero, Bob Burns (and the name should give you a clue as to how seriously to take him) doesnâ€™t quite fit the mould of fictional Scottish detectives or policemen so far introduced to the reading public, although he does share a penchant for unfortunate marriages and a dedication to truth rather than promotion.
When called in to investigate the death of an elderly lady in an East Lothian nursing home, Bobâ€™s local knowledge forbids acceptance of the â€˜obviousâ€™ suspect and a long standing grudge against his boss escalates into a situation whereby Bob finds himself off the case and on a plane to Mallorca. He is accompanied by an unusually forthright forensic scientist, who is conveniently on leave, and meets up with the young PC who helped him on the case, who is also, conveniently, on holiday in the area.
A rather farcical series of events during a fishermanâ€™s festival uncovers the truth and Bob is vindicated.
Says Kerr, â€œI concentrated on looking at how life, no matter how grim the circumstances, can sometimes throw up amusing sideshows as well. Not everyone will buy into that attitude, I know, and I suppose serious crime buffs will huff and puff.
â€œAs in my non-fiction things, escapism and entertainment will be the bywords, and I’ll leave the dark, gory stuff to those who can do it best.â€
There are well crafted twists and turns, as one would hope, but Kerr is just teetering on the brink of the ridiculous at times, his witty observations of people and their motives running away with him.
The proof of the pudding will come in the demand for the second book and I suspect that enough people will enjoy this gentle style to ensure future success for Burns and Co.