Good afternoon, bookworm, do come in! Summer solstice has passed and it’s the first day of July so I’m struggling a little to keep the peace in the bookshelves today since the Christmas books have gotten themselves rather overexcited; they are insisting they should have the most prominent spot in the library to help people get in the festive spirit already. I don’t know about you but I’m more of a “keep Christmas in December” bookworm so I’m siding with the Summer Genre, including the Outdoor Activities and Barbecue books, who are firmly holding on to their prime spot. As impartially as possible, of course! It just feels too early to be thinking about the festive season when I’d much prefer long evening walks and sunsets on the beach. That reminds me, have you heard of a book called Sealfinger by Heide Goody and Iain Grant? Let’s sit outside with a bowl of strawberries and cream and a glass of Pims while I tell you all about it.
Firstly, here’s the blurb:
Some bodies just won’t stay buried.
When a client tells Sam Applewhite she’s seen ghosts in the nearby graveyard, Sam dismisses it as the ramblings of an old woman. She’s got bigger things to worry about — Keeping on top of her job at DefCon4 Security Services isn’t easy – particularly since her manager is a cactus and no one will tell her what her job actually is.
But when the ghost-spotting client goes missing and only Sam suspects foul play, she is compelled to dig deeper.
Aided by her retired stage magician father and the owner of the most outlandish junk shop on the sea front, Sam dives into a mystery involving psychotic seals, unexploded air force munitions, DIY foot surgery and a corpse that just won’t quit.
Now, here’s a little about the authors (extracts from their author pages on Amazon):
Heide Goody has been co-writing with Iain Grant for several years now. The Clovenhoof Satan-in-suburbia comedy series goes from strength to strength, check it out! You might also enjoy the Oddjobs series, especially if you’ve ever had a terrible job. Don’t forget to look at the standalone novels too, there are some gems in there. Heide lives in North Warwickshire, England with her husband and children.
Iain Grant is the author of numerous novels and short story collections. Since 2011, he has co-authored more than twenty books with Heide Goody. She writes the vowels. He writes the consonants. They sometimes argue over the letter ‘y’.
Iain was born and raised in rural Lincolnshire but was forced to leave for educational reasons. Iain now lives in Birmingham (UK, not Alabama) with his wife and a varying number of offspring and animals. He thinks Birmingham is green and lovely and not the concrete hell-hole people assume it must be.
3 Fun facts about Heide and Iain*:
Heide and Iain are writers in residence of a Warwickshire phone box
Heide and Iain were commissioned to write an Adrian Mole story to celebrate the character’s 50th birthday.
Heide and Iain operate a premium line phone service where they will read stories to your pets when you’re on holiday
* One of these is untrue
And here’s my review: You know that sensation of warmth and joy you get when you unexpectedly discover a truly fun and addictive series? That’s exactly the feeling I’ve got having finished Sealfinger, the first of the Sam Applewhite novels. Imagine Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich got together to knit a suite of characters. Now picture Miranda Hart coming along to add the sequins and embellishments, and the end result will be somewhere near Goody and Grant’s creations!
We’ll start with Sam Applewhite, whose personality and background is revealed to the reader bit by bit. She’s organised, calm in a crisis (even when faced with rogue seals or runaway mini turkeys) and has a strong work ethic, despite her manager being a little prickly. She’s also empathetic and loving as she supports her stage magician father come to terms with some serious financial troubles.
Then there’s Delia who runs the sort of no-profit, upcycling business venture I suspect mine would be like if I ever dared become an entrepreneur. She and Sam bond over stage props and a mannequin and Delia quickly becomes Sam’s go-to sidekick for her adventures, especially if they involve something which can be used to make kitsch jewellery or ornaments.
Jimmy crosses paths with Sam as he seeks to carry out the increasingly extreme demands of local heiress and business villain, Jacinda Frost. His band of goons include the unfortunate Wayne and the somewhat genetically-challenged Odinsons, whose antics had me laughing out loud at various points in the novel.
The plot was pacy, the humour on point, the crimes eccentric and oh so much fun. I’m already hooked on the next instalment, Doggerland which I’ll be reviewing on 3rd July and I have every faith that it will be as brilliant as the first. An easy five stars from me for the smiles and laughs it brought. I’ve definitely found my new favourite crime humour authors.
If you like the sound of this, you can click on the book image above to go to the relevant page on Amazon. I don’t get anything for providing the link, I’m just being a helpful bookworm. Thanks to the authors, publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the gifted digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
Well bookworm, I must return to my duties. From the flurry of pages and tinkles of bells within the bookshelves, I fear the Christmas books are attempting to erect a Christmas tree in front of the Summer shelves and it’s going to end badly if I don’t intervene… Until next time bookworm, farewell!