November 11, 2004

Swing, Swing Together, by Peter Lovesey

The procedure followed in this book is rather unusual, even for lateral-thinking Sergeant Cribb. A man has been murdered along the Thames near Oxford, and Cribb's only lead is a young woman named Harriet Shaw, a student at the Elfrida College for the Training of Female Elementary Teachers. Harriet and two of her classmates had crept out of College after midnight for a clandestine swim in the Thames, and been disturbed by a boat containing three men and a fox terrier. As they were in the buff (this adding spice to their scandalous behavior), consternation ensued, and what with one thing and another Harriet was lucky to return to College undetected by the steely-eyed Miss Plummer. Indeed, had it not been for the help of a kindly police constable Miss Shaw would have been packed home in disgrace.

Now Cribb wants to locate those three men and their boat (to say nothing of the dog) for he suspects them of the murder. And he requires the aid of Miss Shaw to identify them. And the only way to find them, he reasons, is to proceed by boat down river in the guise of pleasure-seekers.

By now some fraction of you are nodding your heads, and you are quite right to do so. Swing, Swing Together is Lovesey's homage to Jerome K. Jerome's delightful book, Three Men in a Boat. If it's not much of a mystery, it's nevertheless quite a lot of fun--though you should really read Jerome's book first.

But then, you should read Jerome's book anyway.

Posted by Will Duquette at November 11, 2004 08:36 PM