cover image A Shot in the Dark: A Constable Twitten Mystery

A Shot in the Dark: A Constable Twitten Mystery

Lynne Truss. Bloomsbury, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-63557-055-7

British author Truss (Eats, Shoots and Leaves) makes her crime fiction debut with this hilarious series launch. One morning in 1957, London theater critic A.S. Crystal takes the train to Brighton, where he’s to attend the try-out of a new play, A Shilling in the Meter, at the Theater Royal. That same morning, Constable Peregrine Twitten, an eager beaver who won a prize “for forensic observation,” reports for duty to Det. Insp. Geoffrey Steine, the less than clever head of the Brighton Constabulary, who in 1945 failed to break the Aldersgate stickup case, to which Crystal, then an assistant bank manager, was a witness. That evening at the Theater Royal, something in the play prompts Crystal to remember a piece of crucial information about the Aldersgate robbery, but he’s shot dead before he can share it with the police. Twitten sets out to investigate Crystal’s murder and his link to the unsolved case, aided by competent Sgt. James Brunswick and despite lack of support from the feckless Steine. Truss successfully combines wry humor with a fair-play mystery. Agent: Anthony Goff, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.). (Nov.)