Haddington author Peter Kerr’s latest offering is another adventure from that rebellious cop Bob Burns. He and forensic scientist Julie Bryson are now very much an item and when they are sent undercover to investigate a man-overboard crime on board a cruise ship, the dour policeman must be the only one to resent such a posting.
By happy(?) coincidence, Bob’s sidekick Andy Green is also working undercover on the same cruise ship and so the scene is set for a third hilarious romp. Not that one would describe the Bob Burns novels as crime thrillers. There is most certainly a plot but sometimes the policeman himself seems determined to put obstacles in the way of his investigation.
The settings are extremely visual and indeed one could see these books as a literary cross between the Carry On series and the Keystone Cops.
For me the best part of these books is Kerr’s characterisation â€“ his acceptance of our hero with all his flaws and Bob Burns’ acceptance in turn, of the medley of characteristics that make one man a villain and one man a friend. That and his aptitude for accents, a trick that can go so badly wrong unless you are spot on, as Kerr is.
Kerr returns to Majorca, his one time home, before setting sail for Lanzarote, meeting old contacts who are only too happy to run up the Lothian and Borders Police expense account in return for their help. Thus, he is able to stick to familiar territory, enabling the writing to flow, and entertains effortlessly.