The Man That Got Away

Bloomsbury USA. (Constable Twitten, Bk. 2). Oct. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9781635570731. $27; pap. ISBN 9781635574234. $17. M
Grammarian Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves) continues her foray into crime fiction with the follow-up to A Shot in the Dark. Last year’s title introduced Constable Twitten of the Brighton police force, his Inspector, Steine, and their charwoman, Mrs. Groyne, who is always ready to listen and bring tea and cake. This second book has a cast of Brighton denizens—tourists, citizens, law enforcement officers, and all manner of class types who go about their summertime activities in 1957—until a body is found. Great attention to details of the period and the various conflicts between the social classes is lavished on the setting and characters, citing the real article “U and Non-U” published by a linguist about this time, which distinguishes vocabulary between the upper and middle classes. This plays into the plot. The author’s flair for language adds to the book, as do the colorful “extras,” including the Brighton Belles (pretty young women who act as goodwill ambassadors), the musicians who perform at a local venue, a humbug seller, and horrendously fake waxwork parlor shopkeepers.
VERDICT The precise wordplay and convoluted crime plot of this 1950s British blackish comedy will please fans and attract more readers to the series.
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