Nicholas Latimer is a noble artiste, the underappreciated copywriter for – and by far the most important director of – that exceptional advertising agency NeO-aD. Alas, his need for extensive imaginative thinking time and flexible hours of work, along with his robust ideas about approaches to advertising and his stunning ability to enliven a campaign by the use of the words “And Now…”, are being constantly undermined, mocked and interfered with by the company’s salesman and fellow director, Paul Spencer.
In fact, to save the company (currently only being held together by the mighty efforts of the aforementioned superhuman Nicholas Latimer) it is becoming ever more clear that drastic measures will have to be taken…
I have only read one previous novel by Richard Hull, ‘Murder of my Aunt’, which was a highly enjoyable and cheery little tale of familial homicide told from the perspective of an unpleasant and self-deluded man.
Murder isn’t Easy starts off in very much the same sort of fashion, following the point of view of Nicholas Latimer as he airs grudges, thrusts his self-importance and gullibility in your face and builds up his justification for an intended act of murder. Before this comes off, however, we switch to the viewpoint of his putative victim and then onto others, in which the real story becomes clear.
This is not exactly an inverted novel, but, after a twist or two, the perpetrator of the crime becomes very clear (unless you really put a lot of effort into ignoring the obvious hints) and the way in which the investigation – and the ‘Galatz-si’ subplot – develops will surprise no-one; the enjoyment of the book, therefore, lies less in the mystery itself than in the well-done humour, a neat take on the unreliable narrator device and the way in which each section shows the different perspectives of the protagonists, with their own views of themselves and of others are sharply contrasted.
I enjoyed this one a lot and am looking forward to the release of Excellent Intentions by the British Library and, hopefully, many future reprints of Richard Hull.
Apologies for rather lacklustre blogging and commenting of late – this is largely owing to the fact that I am due to give birth very soon to the UK winner of the All-night Clog-Dancing Championships for the under 0s and the resulting sleep-deprivation is interfering with my ability to perform complex tasks (such as typing, walking in a straight line and breathing without reference to a manual).
The blog will therefore be on hiatus for a short while but will hopefully return before May, enlivened by a fresh coat of posseting.