Another mid-January, another Duffy review. This is a tradition I’ll happily keep going for much, much longer. I could have sworn Adrian McKinty intended Duffy to be a trilogy. Or perhaps I only imagined it. Suffice to say, when I opened the package and found the fifth Duffy novel inside, I was one happy witch.
Duffy has just been abandoned by his live-in partner (I had a moment of fear that I’d forgotten someone so significant in his life, but she was new, and is already leaving. Because Duffy is too old…), and he has also just shaken the hand of Muhammad Ali (fictitious, but realistic, visit to Northern Ireland by the great man), when he is faced with his second locked-room mystery. This seems like too much of a coincidence, for one policeman, in such a short time. In Carrickfergus.
He is up against more evil and cunning criminals. In fact, the murderer is who you’d expect, except it’s so obvious, but you can’t work out how it could be possible. And Duffy continues to look for bombs under his car.
Our detective travels to Liverpool and to London, as well as to a snowy Finland where the sea freezes over and the policemen don’t talk. He meets Jimmy Savile, who’s nowhere near as friendly off-camera as he seems on television…
McCrabban is a rock as always, and Lawson, the newbie from last year’s book, looks promising, if only Adrian will let him live.
Towards the very end I feared for Duffy’s safety. I could see how his creator might want to finish him off (despite giving him a cat), but luckily he didn’t, so I live in hope of book six. And perhaps even books ten or twelve?
(For probably the first time in my crime-reading life I could tell how the murderer got out of the locked room.)