The Frumious Bandersnatch, by Ed McBain

Tamara Valparaiso is an up-and-coming rock star who is kidnapped from the boat on which they're holding an event to publicise her new album, Frumious Bandersnatch. Steve Carella picks up the case, but the FBI also get involved, and there's some tension between the cops and the feebs as they try to get Tamara back unharmed.

I think this one follow directly on from Fat Ollie's Book: Ollie Weeks turns up in this story and talks about how he wants to try and get his book back. But it's not as good as that, and definitely not as good as Money Money Money.

In fact, I thought this book was extremely weak. And a curious structure. Quite a bit of the book was devoted to a story about Ollie and his romance with a female cop, but this story had absolutely no connection with the kidnap: Ollie had nothing to do with the investigation and I think the only time this story connected with the kidnap was when Ollie saw mention of it on the TV. There was way too much about the "Bandersnatch" song, with pages devoted to descriptions of the video and music (the lyrics were just those of the poem). It was just boring.

Carella eventually cracks the case - or at least manages to identify the kidnappers - using old fashioned legwork, and I suppose it is this sort of detail that justifies the description of McBain's work as "police procedural". There was just one thing I found impressive in the book: as I was reading it, I thought "now, if this were a Davenport book, something unexpected would happen, like the kidnappers will shoot Tamara". And, right at the end, they did. And it was unexpected. But apart from that, this was a bit of a waste of time.

I wonder if hearing this on audiobook spoiled it: William Dufries was the reader, and I didn't really get on with him. But also, the fact that it's on audiobook means you can't skip sections as easily as you might with a hard-copy. And there were plenty of sections I was therefore forced to listen to which I might otherwise have avoided.

Completed : 06-Sep-2007 (audiobook)

[nickoh] [2007 books] [books homepage]