Monday, May 19, 2014

Review of Another Case in Cowtown by Mel Healy (2013)

Moss Reid is an unassuming private investigator who works out of small office in Stonybatter in the north inner city of Dublin.  His usual fare is snooping on cheating spouses, tracing missing people or recovering property where payments have been skipped.  During a scorching summer week, Reid finds himself snowed under with cases -- tracing the mother of man given away at birth, spying on partners suspected of having affairs, and working undercover as a chef in a Dublin restaurant plagued by thefts.  Reid is something of gourmet and the restaurant assignment lets him practise his culinary skills, but he soon detects that there is more going on than meets the eye, with one of the workers seemingly having no past.  As the week unfolds, Reid tries to nudge all of his cases to a conclusion, but when his office is broken into twice it’s clear that someone does not want one of them solved.

Private investigator Moss Reid is a fairly unassuming guy who scrapes by solving relatively mundane and routine enquiries.  He’s rarely in a rush, does not play the hard man, is generally quite convivial, and has the right amount of patience to hang around for hours waiting for clues and to deal with antsy clients.  He’s not quite as organised as he could be, but things generally fall into place.  He’s an appealing character and, along with the sense of place and the pacing and asides, he’s the key ingredient to Another Case in Cowtown.  Healy captures the atmosphere and habits of Dublin, with some nice observations, and the story drifts along, with the occasional tangent that often involves food.  The plot has Reid investigating a number of cases, all of which has some interest, but falters a little in the last quarter through some over-complication and gaps.  Nevertheless, the story is a pleasant and entertaining read. 

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - The setting sounds good in this one. Glad you thought it was an enjoyable read.