Fat Ollie's Book, by Ed McBain

The setup for this story is a cracker: detective Ollie Weekes emerges from the scene of a murder he's investigating to find that his car has been broken into and his bag stolen. This contained the only copy he has of the novel he's just finished writing - the whole thing bar the final chapter. The novel is written as a first person account of a police detective's investigation into a diamond heist, but when a small-time criminal reads it, he doesn't realise it's fiction...

With such a promising setup, I was really looking forward to this, but it didn't quite deliver. Like Money Money Money, there are several plot strands: I think just the murder investigation and the parallel search for the book would have been enough, but there's at least one other major investigation going on as well, on top of extracts from Ollie's book, which tells of the fictitious diamond deal. All this in a relatively short book.

At one point, we hear some suggestions on how to write a sure-fire bestseller from a book editor that Ollie wrote too - don't have too many characters, have a simple plot, etc.. It felt a bit like McBain was deliberately trying to flout those rules.

This was a good book, laugh-out-loud funny in places, but I wish it had made more of the plot.

Completed : 04-May-2004 (audiobook)

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