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Holmes, Margaret and Poe cover art

Holmes, Margaret and Poe

By: James Patterson
Narrated by: Ms Charlotte Ritchie, Jared Zeus, Laurence Bouvard, Rashan Stone
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Summary

Brendan Holmes, Margaret Marple and August Poe run the most in-demand private investigation agency in New York City.

The three detectives make a formidable team, solving a series of seemingly impossible crimes which expose the dark underbelly of the city - from a priceless art theft, high-stakes kidnapping and a decades-old unsolved murder, to a gruesome subterranean prison and corruption and bribery at the highest levels of power.

But it's not long before their headline-grabbing breakthroughs, unconventional methods - and untraceable pasts - attract the attention of the NYPD and the FBI.

After all, it's no surprise that there's a mystery or two to unravel in the city that never sleeps . . . not least, who really are Holmes, Margaret and Poe?

©2024 James Patterson (P)2024 Penguin Audio

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Multiple narrators which is odd

The first thing is the book as many narrators. They don’t take characters. They take chapters. Very odd. They all have different accents and pronounce characters names differently. Takes a bit of getting used to.

If you do manage to get through it. Alright book. Pretty flimsy but alright.

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You should’ve seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe …

This is a novel that must’ve sounded fairly barmy in the planning stages, like a pitch at a brainstorm meeting which was initially regarded as a bit of a joke - then, against the odds, got the green light for publication. Then again, it’s by James Patterson, who has sold 230million books. He knows what he’s doing, and in this case what he’s doing is bringing in a collaborator - the TV writer Brian Sitts. The premise is simple. It’s set in the present day. Three hotshot private eyes launch an agency in New York City. They’re called Brendan Holmes, Margaret Marple and Auguste Poe. Which may sound familiar… not only that, they share some of the attributes of their namesakes - the legendary fictional sleuths created by Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. In the case of Poe, his name is an echo of C. Auguste Dupin, a creation of Edgar Allan Poe. Dupin was a kind of amateur detective who blazed a trail for Holmes, first appearing in a short story in 1841. There are uncanny similarities between these modern-day investigators and their fictional counterparts. Unlike the originals, though, their style of crime-fighting is a little edgier. There are guns and fast cars, and some racy scenes. The mysteries they unravel are interesting enough, sometimes gory. They’re not a patch on the kind of crimes Holmes et al came up against in terms of their novelty - some of the plot strands owe more to Thomas Harris than Conan Doyle. The methods of detection are a little different, too. Modern police techniques are sometimes used. It’s a kind of brazen, heretical exercise, doubtless with one eye on a Netflix adaptation. Which might work… The strangest thing is that this is actually an entertaining listen. For the most part, it all makes sense, though I wasn’t 100 per cent sure at all times what was going on - there are many parallel investigations. There are multiple narrators. That’s not ideal … it’s told in the third person, so you’ll find a female narrator attempting Poe’s voice, for example, or a male narrator attempting a female voice. Fair enough, but I would’ve preferred one narrator. Purists will rightly give this a wide berth. But if you’re looking for something a little different, this is diverting enough. Doubtless other titles will follow. Maybe in the next one a modernised Poirot will team up with the existing trio… oh, and that sound you hear in the background is Conan Doyle and the others spinning in their graves.

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