My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Every new Arthur Beauchamp mystery seems even funnier than the last, which is saying something. The self-deprecating humour, legal puzzles, human conundrums, urban and rural settings and the characters created by William Deverell never fail to satisfy. This book, in particular, deals with some very dark Canadian history and corrupt characters, circa 1962, mostly.
The structure of the book, intersperses a "biography" of the gangly, Roman-nosed lawyer from the beginning of his career, referencing other books in the series (very clever) and then unspools a plot which moves between the 60's and present day. Deverell is a terrific writer who happens to specialize in erudite, witty, page-flapping mysteries with a social conscience. It takes a pro to make those diverse elements sing in a pitch-perfect way and that's why his fans are legion.
The tidbits offered up to depict Vancouver of the early 60's era are another delight to encounter: the Cecil Hotel, the poet Newlove (John, like the fictional Beauchamp, a brilliant, tormented fellow fond of libations), the tasty and affordable Green and Orange Door restaurants,the Marco Polo, Isy's, the old West End and the view while walking over the Burrard Street Bridge. Likewise, the depiction of rural"Garibaldi Island" and its denizens, classic Gulf Island caricatures, lovingly created, down to the perennially late ferry boat, the transsexual Queen of Prince George, never fails to elicit guffaws. Warn your bedmate if you read at night. It's either a benign West Coast quake or a new Arthur Beauchamp novel underway.
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