Full disclosure, Tyler Cook is the proprietor of the website The Portly Politico, a fellow conservative and in my opinion a fine fellow. He and I have shared many an interesting conversation on-line about a number of different topics, political and non-political. He’s a multi-talented fellow and a good guy. So, I wasn’t surprised to find that he has also self-published a book and asked me to review it. And always on the look out for something good to review, I immediately agreed and he was kind enough to send me a review copy.
“The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard” is a short book and is made up of a number of “cases.” The eponymous Inspector is a Sherlock Holmes-like savant who usually solves the case simultaneous with the initial narration of the crime. But the final solution always involves logic that is a complete non sequitur to the clues. That is the joke.
The thing that I noted was that the content of the stories reflect the various ages at which Tyler wrote them. So, the earliest tales are very, very short and have solutions that defy any conventional logic. They are what a teenage kid would find funny. And as the series of stories progresses, they become more complex and the writing adds touches of noir-like characterization and other dramatic effect.
And finally, as the author enters adulthood his writing becomes mature and his story telling powers become developed. The culmination is a story called, “Inspector Gerard and the Dead-End Job Caper.” It is a comical piece that dramatizes Gerard’s ennui and determination to abandon crime-solving and take up a life as a fish-monger. This story has everything. Dramatic tension, character development, local color and timing. Well, maybe not, but it is funny.
So here is the verdict. Tyler Cook is a smart talented writer. I can see that in the output of his blog. “The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard” is a showcase of his earliest fiction writing output. It reflects his sense of humor applied to the mystery genre. It is amusing but very short. I think the takeaway from this selection is that Tyler is going to write a longer and more commercial work in the future.
Tyler has the story on Amazon and I see it’s on kindle unlimited for free I believe. Because of its short length and the ironic nature of much of the work I wouldn’t know if many folks would be happy to pay a lot for the collection. But I encourage readers of the Portly Politico to try it out and then lobby Tyler to spread his wings and write the comic novel that he obviously has in him.