Hunter, Alan - 'Gently Continental'
In 1962, the body of a mysterious American, identified as Wilbur O'Brien Clooney, is discovered on the beach near the Hotel Continental where he had been staying for some six weeks. At first natural causes, perhaps a heavy fall, are suspected but then after the post mortem, foul play is confirmed. The hotel is run by an Austrian lady who fled the Nazi occupation to come to England, and she has a genuine longing for the style of Viennese hospitality and tries to reproduce it in her establishment. When the police come, they try to interview all the residents of the hotel and also the staff to get a better picture of the late Mr Clooney's movements before his demise. They establish that the American's passport is a fake and Chief Superintendent Gently, who makes his first appearance on page 34, makes an appeal to the the American authorities. His message is bounced off the communications satellite Telstar (remember that?) and the answer he gets back from them, identifies Clooney but under a completely different name and nationality. The story quickly rushes on to its breathless conclusion.
This is the fifteenth book in the Inspector George Gently series of case files. I must confess that I have regrettably never had an opportunity to view the hit BBC TV series starring Martin Shaw, although I have seen the odd trailer. The Gently that is described by the author, is physically much slighter it seems to the way Martin Shaw is. I was impressed, however, with the story that I read which is the first one by this author that I've had the pleasure of enjoying. I'll certainly look out for these books again but as the book is so short perhaps an anthology of the stories would be more appropriate. Recommended.
Terry Halligan, England
last updated 1/12/2012 20:40