Published by Fahrenheit Press
Publication date 5 October 2016
Source – own copy
“Danny Bird is back and he’s gone full Poirot.”
When Lady Margaret Wright dies her will stipulates her wake be held in her old neighbourhood. Sensing an opportunity, Danny, Lady Caroline and the gang commit to giving the old girl the wake to end all wakes and at the same time cement the reputation of The Marquis Of Queensbury as South London’s most up and coming gastro-pub.
As usual though things don’t quite go to plan and it isn’t long before the body count starts to mount. Danny and the unflappable Lady Caroline find themselves thrown into a classic murder mystery complete with poison pen letters, family feuds, money, jealousy and a cast of characters that would put the average Agatha Christie country house mystery to shame.
With his love-life and his business seemingly falling around his ears Danny is determined to get to the bottom of things and hopefully put a stop to people getting murdered in his damn pub.
Danny Bird is recovered from his previous experience of murder. The Marquis of Queensbury pub is fast gaining a reputation for its food and his boss ‘Chopper’ Falzone hasn’t found a reason to vanish him just yet. So his burgeoning relationship with handsome detective Nick may be on the wane but at least there are no more bodies. Then Danny is asked to host a wake. And along with fag ash in the punch and plaster of Paris in the loo, Danny discovers a dead body. So Danny and his erstwhile best friend Lady Caroline are on the hunt for a murderer again.
I thoroughly enjoyed this return visit to Danny and Caz. Having been hugely entertained by Death of a Diva, the first Danny Bird mystery, I was keen to see if Death of a Nobody would live up to my expectations. I needn’t have worried because it did.
This is cosy crime but with the f bomb. The humour and setting are reminiscent of a gentler crime caper but Poirot would never engage his little grey cells to come up with a variety of swear words in the way that Danny does.
The characters all make the story. Danny is of course the lead, a warm hearted, sensitive soul who happens to have a nosey streak that is sated by investigating homicides and getting himself into situations he doesn’t always relish. Dash and Ray are a great double act, quietly filling in scenes, helping Danny; they are the equivalent of Captain Hastings, if the latter were identically duplicated and had anti social behaviour traits. Lady Caroline is as wonderful as always. If I were to be a skint, alcoholic member of the aristocracy then I’d want to be her. As for the other characters, not one was wasted in the story. I even loved the appearances of Mr Bird senior.
The mystery is engaging, with twists, turns and red herrings aplenty, and enough bodies to keep an undertaker happy for a week. I had great fun puzzling it all out.
There were moment when I had to stop reading from laughing, often times I found myself giggling at some of the humour that is more weaved into the fabric of the novel than peppered here and there.
A great second instalment in the Danny Bird series, I can’t wait to revisit Danny, Caz and the regulars at the Marq.
About the author
Derek Farrell has, since childhood, told stories. Of course, back then they were called lies, and usually got him in to trouble, but nowadays his stories, humorous poetry and song lyrics are entertaining people from Kansas to Crawley.
Derek grew up in a small terrace close to the Guinness brewery in Dublin’s Liberties neighbourhood, where the smell of roasting hops alternated with the yeasty fermentation of the mash, and the cry of the seagulls was interrupted occasionally by the snorting of an escaped cow on the rampage from the abattoir at the bottom of the street.
Derek’s literary heroes include Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Lawrence Block, Joe Keenan, Steven Saylor, Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiel Hammet, Raymond Chandler, Lindsey Davis, Jonathan Harvey, Fidelis Morgan, Armistead Maupin, Doctor Seuss and anyone who actually drags their arse to the desk and writes, Goddammit!
His jobs have included: Burger dresser, Bank teller, David Bowie’s paperboy, and Investment Banker on the 80th floor of the World Trade Centre.
Time in high finance, has given him an opportunity to observe people, to understand the persuasive power of language and to develop an insight into the workings of the criminal mind, whilst allowing him to live and work in Hong Kong, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Prague and London.
And all the time, he’s been telling stories.
You can follow him on twitter @derekifarrell
This was book 18 in my #20BooksofSummer challenge.