Official Review: Trouble in Bay Town by Alan M. Blank

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Official Review: Trouble in Bay Town by Alan M. Blank

Post by Helen_Combe » 12 Jun 2018, 03:15

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Trouble in Bay Town" by Alan M. Blank.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Trouble In Bay Town by Alan M. Blank is an easy and enjoyable read which manages, very cleverly, to be contemporary while having the nostalgic feel of a 1940’s detective novel. Sonny Knight, a private investigator, is approached by Miss Oglethorpinger because she hasn’t received either her inheritance or her payment for playing the piano in a local bar. Sonny isn’t particularly excited by this case until he discovers that a young woman goes missing every time Miss Oglethorpinger goes out and tickles the ivories. How these two occurrences are related become central to Sonny’s investigation.

What I liked most about this book was the gentle humour and the strong relationships that the characters formed with each other. It is immediately clear that the author has a sense of humour from the disclaimer at the start of the book.
This book is [a] work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people or events is purely coincidental. Except the part of the guy in the police station filing a claim about his identity being stolen. That was me.
The atmosphere of the 1940s is created in a variety of ways. Sonny refuses to use a computer or to own a mobile phone. Cookie, his ‘Gal Friday’, deals with that side of the work while he happily continues with his filing cabinet and landlines. Everybody in the town appears to know everybody else, and most of the men have old-fashioned nicknames like ‘Cha-Cha’, ‘Ace’ and ‘Whitey’.

There are some nice nods to other classic detective authors. There is an Agatha Christie picture on Sonny’s calendar; he refers to his Poirotesque ‘little grey cells’, and he never goes anywhere without his Panama hat. I had to keep my concentration up because if it drifted, my mind’s eye would immediately dress him in a trench coat and fedora.

One refreshing point is that Sonny is an all-round nice guy without the failings usually attributed to detectives. He’s not divorced; he’s capable of fulfilling relationships; he's not depressed; he used to smoke, but he grew out of it, and though he keeps a bottle of Scotch in his desk, he’s not a drunk. Also, Sonny works quite amicably alongside the police detectives. A nice change from them being a mere foil to make the private detective look clever. Admittedly, there are a couple of knuckle-draggers, but they add to the entertainment. The badinage between the men is generally good-natured and feels natural.

While most of the book is quite light, there are serious moments. There is rape and murder, but thankfully we do not see these occurrences as they happen, and they are not dwelt upon.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is very well written, but I did spot some typos. Not too many, but more than I would expect to get past a professional editor. If I could, I would give this book 3.5 stars, but as I can only give whole numbers, I am rating it 3 out of 4 stars. This book will appeal to people who like a gentle, humorous, old fashioned and not too taxing detective story.

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Post by Kat Berg » 12 Jun 2018, 22:55

OOOOHH, this sounds like a book I would love! It has been a long time since I have read a noir-type book, and it sounds promising indeed that it doesn't have some of the undesirable baggage that can go with that genre. I will have to check this one out! Thanks for the review.

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Post by MsTri » 13 Jun 2018, 01:13

I saw this book on the list, and while I was interested, I wasn't INTERESTED. But having read your review, it's now on my 'Want to Read' shelf and my Wishlist @ Amazon. I especially like the mix of 40s with the more contemporary, whereas Sonny won't use modern technology. I'm also intrigued by women disappearing when Miss O plays the piano... Thanks so much for the review!

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Post by Helen_Combe » 13 Jun 2018, 01:33

Kat Berg wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 22:55
OOOOHH, this sounds like a book I would love! It has been a long time since I have read a noir-type book, and it sounds promising indeed that it doesn't have some of the undesirable baggage that can go with that genre. I will have to check this one out! Thanks for the review.
Thank you. I hope you enjoy it.
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Post by Helen_Combe » 13 Jun 2018, 01:33

MsTri wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 01:13
I saw this book on the list, and while I was interested, I wasn't INTERESTED. But having read your review, it's now on my 'Want to Read' shelf and my Wishlist @ Amazon. I especially like the mix of 40s with the more contemporary, whereas Sonny won't use modern technology. I'm also intrigued by women disappearing when Miss O plays the piano... Thanks so much for the review!
Thank you. I hope you enjoy it.
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 13 Jun 2018, 04:24

Sounds like a lovely read that I would enjoy. Detective read is a genre that I stated to like very recently, and as you said I really like the quote. The author's humour just adds in to make this book sounds handful. Thank you for your review!
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Post by SamSim » 13 Jun 2018, 05:18

This sounds great! I love the old-fashioned vibe and the humor. Loved the review, too. Thanks for the recommendation!
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Post by Helen_Combe » 13 Jun 2018, 05:20

Thank you, I hope you get a chance to read it.
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Post by gen_g » 13 Jun 2018, 09:55

Thank you for the comprehensive review! It seems like an intriguing and light afternoon read - I like that old fashioned style sometimes as well.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 13 Jun 2018, 10:33

gen_g wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 09:55
Thank you for the comprehensive review! It seems like an intriguing and light afternoon read - I like that old fashioned style sometimes as well.
Thank you, you’ve summed it up perfectly.
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Post by DathanReeves » 13 Jun 2018, 15:41

This book sounds like a fun, comical take on detective noir stories. I might enjoy this.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 13 Jun 2018, 15:55

DathanReeves wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 15:41
This book sounds like a fun, comical take on detective noir stories. I might enjoy this.
I hope you do. Thanks for posting.
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Post by trajoe1206 » 13 Jun 2018, 20:37

Thanks for the review. I enjoy reading a good detective novel, and one where the author has a sense of humor will make a better read. Will add this to my want to read list.

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Post by SABRADLEY » 13 Jun 2018, 21:14

This certainly sounds like something I would like. I enjoy the subtle humor and nods to other authors. The era is right up my alley too! Thanks for a great review!

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Post by Helen_Combe » 13 Jun 2018, 22:46

trajoe1206 wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 20:37
Thanks for the review. I enjoy reading a good detective novel, and one where the author has a sense of humor will make a better read. Will add this to my want to read list.
Thank you and thanks for posting.
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