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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

A mummy is stolen from a small-town museum along with some Roman coins and a soaking wet man collapses in 14-year-old Peter Furneaux's living room bleeding from the head. What was a suspected student prank is followed by murder. 

At first it is impossible to see the connection, but the eccentric Colonel Manton does. With Peter's help the colonel unravels a mystery that strikes fear into the heart of a genteel suburban neighbourhood and gives Peter rather more excitement than he bargained for at the tennis club social. This meticulously paced thriller shows Amis at his most subtle and daring.

©1973 Kingsley Amis (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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Murder, sex and growing up - Golden Age crime drama with a twist

This is genteel fare, on the face of it, inspired by Golden Age-style detective stories: quaint settings, ingenious murder methods, and eccentric investigators ... but like a lot of Amis’s work, a familiar genre is given a fresh dimension. The central character is Peter Furneaux, a teenager whose dad is falsely accused of murder. Peter is infatuated with a glamorous neighbour. Colonel Manton runs the murder probe - shrewd, champagne-swilling, with a secret about his personal life. The story kicks off with a theft from the local museum. We follow Peter as he thinks about girls, plays records and does his French homework, against the backdrop of the murder investigation. It’s never less than entertaining, a throwback novel but one that quietly subverts or at least has a little gentle fun with the genre. Amis had written a novel on similar lines - a ghost story/sex caper called The Green Man; it’s clear he enjoyed genre experimentation. This story is clever, funny, well-told, and well-narrated.

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