Monday, March 30, 2015

Following Edie Banister

Read Nick Harkaway's 2012 'Edie Investigates' at the hairdresser's. (He's really Nicholas Cornwell.) When I got to the end, I yelped. So short?! That shriek of consternation was loud enough for the lady in the next seat to turn and ask if I was okay. Grrrr.

To finish a book even before a 20-minute hair treatment was completed?! I felt cheated. It stated 'eShort'. But still???! Wasn't expecting the ending to be so abrupt. What a brilliant publishing strategy. How could it just end like that??!! I want to know what happens after, not just to now-octogenarian super spy Commander RN Retired Edith J. Banister, or now just Edie Banister, but also to Tom Rice, a young junior intelligence officer.

Luckily I had 'Angelmaker' right on the Kindle and could start on it straightaway and finish it over a beer while waiting for the friends for a late dinner. Hmmmph. It's not a continuation of 'Edie Investigates'. This follows the life story of a not-that-much younger Edie Banister in action, and introduces new characters like Joshua Joseph 'Joe' Spork, the son of infamous London crime boss Matthew 'Tommy Gun' Spork. Joe doesn't like that fact made known, preferring to spend his days quietly fixing antique clocks, a skill he acquired from his grandfather. (Reviews here, here and here.)

Joe Spork's quiet days dissipated after he was 'recruited', unknowingly by a seemingly harmless old lady who asked him to fix a complicated antique clock. That was Edie Banister, a now-retired international secret agent. He somehow activated a mechanism that triggered a countdown. The doomsday countdown began dictated by this 1950s doomsday clock. Here began Joe and Edie's separate crazy escapes from evil monks called 'Ruskinites', a big-ass villain named Shem-Shem Tsien, East End villains, and basically every bad guy in the world. The names are hilarious, succeeding in that deadpan humor only the English seem to be able to pull off. Too funny.

In the end, of course Joe Spork and Edie Banister triumphed. She always does. I probably wouldn't like this book as much if she was killed. You know, it needs that bit of wild chases, crazy theories, end-the-world-stuff, bit of fantasy, save-the-day-thing, like all good crime novels do.

"The gas taps in the kitchens," Dotty Catty says. "I have arranged that they should catch fire." She beams. Somewhere to one side, one of the Ruskinites makes a horrified choking noise. Brother Denis the Ruskinite stares at her, aghast. 
"But this palace is constructed over a natural-gas reservoir," he says in horror. "The entire citadel ... You'll blow the whole place like a bomb!" 
"Yes," Dotty Catty says. "It will be very distracting/" 
And just like that, Edie Banister is having a really bad day.


JT said...

Always entertaning to read about your reads :)

Would like to share with you a book I'm currently reading - The Incarnations by Susan Barker. Something tells me that you will enjoy it.

imp said...

I keep stumbling across her book reviews. But haven't picked up a story of hers yet. Will get there soon! Thank you!