9 July 2009 0 Comments

Review: Crime fiction’s first PI Pig

The Third Pig Detective Agency by Bob Burke
published by The Friday Project isbn 1906321752

Seeing his brothers’ houses blown down by the Big Bad Wolf (“I’ll huff and I’ll puff…”) taught Harry Pigg to build his own house out of bricks, thus avoiding the grisly fate of the first and second pigs. The nursery rhyme carries a lesson for all little children… It also forms the somewhat traumatic background that turns Harry into the wise-cracking detective of Bob Burke’s engagingly witty new novel.

We’re in Grimmtown, where everyone is a character from a fairy tale or a nursery rhyme. But it’s no fairytale wonderland. In fact, it’s rather true to the stories of the Brothers Grimm, whose nightmarish old tales always seem to me distinctly inappropriate for small children (the chipper little Gingerbread Man, for example, gets eaten and that’s the end of that. Whoever thought these would be good stories for kids?) On the mean streets of Grimmtown, hard-up Harry Pigg is hired by Aladdin to track down his stolen magic lantern, though this displeases Aladdin’s thuggish bodyguard, one of the Billygoats Gruff. Dwarfs, leprechauns and genies ensue.

This is undoubtedly the most whimsical hardboiled detective novel ever written, and it’s utterly delightful.

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