Mystery Man by Colin Bateman

Mystery Man

Colin Bateman

This book is hilarious, I loved it. Take a hypochondriac book dealer with OCD and combine him with Miss Marple and what do you get? The manic owner of a mystery bookshop in Belfast, next door to a missing private detective, who finds that cases keep walking in on him. So does his new girlfriend, with adventures he is too timid to enjoy. And if you are a vintage film freak, watch out for the last line.

Just because I have not travelled, it does not mean that I am unworldly. My books have educated me about this planet of ours, and fine writing has shown me places richer in colour and sound than any complicated train journey or intrepid adventure on the back of a yak could. You do not have to listen to jazz to appreciate it. I could talk for months about the mercurial talents of Dizzy Gillespie, yet I wouldn’t recognise a note of his if it came at me unexpectedly in an elevator. Similarly, I have read enough about Chinese Culture – The Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer was the first of many novels featuring that master criminal that I devoured in my childhood – to understand that the elusive May had fled from the arms of her lover not to some mysterious retreat, but into the bosom of her people. And I don’t mean China itself. That vast overpopulated country would be as foreign to her, born and bred in Belfast, as the freezing South Atlantic would be to a trained circus seal. While they were catching fish and frolicking on ice floes, she would be clapping her flippers together and balancing a beach ball on her nose.
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