How quickly time passes! Lynne Truss set her crime novel – featuring the best of Brighton’s landmarks – in 1957, making it somewhat historical and retro. But my mind boggles as I realise that I first set foot in Brighton a mere twenty years later, and moved away ten years later still. That almost makes me retro as well.
It’s amusing to find the streets and squares of Brighton in the names of the characters; Old Steine, Brunswick Square, and little Twitten, not forgetting Groynes, Palmeira and Adelaide.
Inspector Steine is an idiot. Sergeant Brunswick so-so, while young Constable Twitten doesn’t miss much, unless it’s social cues. What I don’t know is how long it would have taken me to know who the villain was, has Lynne not actually talked about that at her Bloody Scotland event. Was it very obvious, or just a bit obvious?
Whatever. It’s an entertaining story, poking fun at old-style crimes and old-style policemen, with a dash of Brighton Rock thrown in.
After the Bloody Scotland ‘cosy’ discussion about swearing and authenticity I couldn’t relax, but had to look for discrepancies. I always do this. There was much swearing for a ‘no-swearing’ book. And it’s never easy knowing what life was like around the time you were born. To some extent I’d say Brighton in 1977 wasn’t much different, albeit perhaps with a few more language schools.
I went to my first panto in the Theatre Royal. It was slightly more lacking in bloodshed that time.
If you are nostalgic for times gone by, this is your book.