Adair, Gilbert - 'And Then There Was No One'
A controversial author is the surprise mystery guest at a Sherlock Holmes convention near the Reichenbach Falls; he appears at a party long enough to establish that everyone hates him before being found with an arrow in his chest in the local Holmes museum. Can Evadne Mount, crime writer and amateur sleuth solve the mystery? More importantly, can she, or anyone, actually find the mystery?
I should point out now that (a) I really liked the first two Evadne Mount books and (b) I was really looking forward to reading the third. So if this review seems a little negative, a lot of it stems from a profound disappointment. I'd like to be able to say that Adair has written another clever and witty Christie/Golden Age pastiche; but he hasn't, so I can't.
Instead Adair has written a massively self-referential mish-mash about the awfulness of being a post-modern literary writer who has somehow inadvertently become mildly popular with a non-literary audience. The narrator is an author called Gilbert Adair, who has written two books about a crime-solving crime writer called Evadne Mount and has avoided writing a third because he is tired of writing about cardboard characters. Slightly oddly, he's chosen instead to write some of Sherlock Holmes stories that Conan Doyle forgot to pen. To be fair, Adair's version of 'The Giant Rat of Sumatra' is a reasonable story, but I'd expect more than 29 pages of solvable mystery in a 258 page book. Adair's contribution to solving the murder is to wander about Meiringen explaining that the destruction of the Twin Towers was justified because it happened to Americans and complaining about the quality of crime fiction (it is noticeable that all the authors named are safely dead and unable to sue or poke Gilbert Adair on the nose). Occasionally he sees Evadne Mount at work on the computer at the hotel; after a while she announces the name of the murderer, which she has found on the internet. You can find anything on the net, apparently.
This book is really for post-modernists who dislike crime fiction and knows that the genre is beneath them. Crime fiction readers, particularly those who enjoyed the previous two Mount books, should borrow it from someone else, or subject the book to a rigorous 50 page check in the shop.
Rik Shepherd, England
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