Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce was recommended to me by my boyfriend, Richard. This is one of his favourite series of books (a nice change from the sci-fi he usually reads), the Aberystwyth books are noir detective novels set in an alternate universe version of the Welsh town and revolve around the life of private detective Louie Knight. In this book the town’s youth keep disappearing and the local organised crime group, the Druids, are up to something. Louie is approached by the exotic singer Myfanwy Montez to help solve the case when her cousin Evans the Boot, also goes missing.
Schoolboys are dissappearing all over Aberystwyth and nobody knows why. Louie Knight, the town’s private investigator, soon realises that it is going to take more than a double ripple from Sospan, the philosopher cum ice-cream seller, to help find out what is happening to these boys and whether or not Lovespoon, the Welsh teacher, Grand Wizard of the Druids and controller of the town, is more than just a sinister bully. And just who was Gwenno Guevara?
I must admit I found this book a little hard to take at first. I found a number of things confusing, such as why there were Druids running the town (but as Richard would say, why not?), why do the characters go to an ice cream parlour to drown their troubles (instead of a pub or a crack house for that matter!), why there was a museum full of corsetry and… something about tea cosies… I think the humour just escaped me. Other people who have read these books seem to think they are hilarious but I didn’t find myself laughing…. as I said, I think it was just me not getting it. However, the more I read the more I enjoyed this book, enough that I wanted to see how it was going to end. There are more novels in this series, Last Tango in Aberystwyth, The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberyswyth and Don’t Cry for Me Aberystwyth. This novel was definitely not something I would have normally read so it was a good experience to read something so different.If you like hardboiled detective novels and books that are offbeat, then you may just like this one too.
First published August 6, 2009