The No.2 Global Detective by Toby Clements

the story nicely parodies the work of four contemporary greats of crime writing

Book Review by Leo Wood | 12 Dec 2006
Book title: The No.2 Global Detective
Author: Toby Clements
Conceptually similar to his last novel The Asti Spumante Code, which parodied that revered classic The Da Vinci Code, Toby Clements' latest novel, The No. 2 Global Detective Agency, follows the trail of young Oxford tutor Tom Hurst as he searches for clues to a murder most foul, jumping through worlds of different crime writers with each country he visits.

For those who enjoy reading a bit of crime fiction, there's nothing like unravelling a juicy murder mystery, especially when it combines four of your favourites all wrapped up in one neat package.

Sounds pretty mad? Well budding crime writers take note... the story nicely parodies the work of four contemporary greats of crime writing: home-grown favourites Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall-Smith, Swedish writer Henning Mankell and Patricia Cornwell, the American crime writer known for her forensic fictions (and for believing she'd solved the case of Jack the Ripper).

Successful parody is difficult to achieve in that it relies on being able to perfectly match the original while at the same time ripping the thing to shreds, but Clements is able to mimic and mock each of the writing styles in turn perfectly, in a slick and self-referential manner, making for a humorous, if totally farcical tale.

But this is clearly a book which will only really amuse those who know their Agatha Christie from their P D James, so long as they aren't afraid to have a bit of a laugh at the expense of clever yet predictable crime stories. [Leo Wood]
The No.2 Global Detective is published by Canongate.
Release Date: Out now. List Price £7.99.