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Thumbs Up from Mark Timlin

Here's the latest review - this time from long-term fan Mark Timlin.  Hope he makes a full recovery...


HAPPY DAYS by GRAHAM HURLEY (ORION) Published 2nd February 2012 H/B �12.99

I wrote this review in the day room of the Milward Ward at the The London Hospital in Whitechapel where I spent a lovely nine hours last week waiting for an operation to chop lumps out of me that in the end never happened. But that's another story. The day room had the aspect of a Dickensian slum which perfectly fitted the area in which it is located. The walls were full of holes, the heating system was prehistoric, and the carpet on the floor fulfilled the expression: "You could eat your dinner off it." In fact I think someone had, but forgot to mop up the gravy. The only light spot being when two young women came in to the check the cleaning. Do me a favour loves. If that place had been cleaned in living memory, it was the memory of an Elephant-Long. I fact, by lunchtime I felt like a poster boy for MRSA.

Believe me Brothers, when you're admitted to the Urology department of Barts and The London you're drinking in The Last Chance Saloon.

The only good thing about my wait was that I was able to read HAPPY DAYS, the final instalment of the wonderful Faraday and Winter novels set in Portsmouth.

By coincidence Detective Inspector Faraday was so far into that same establishment, that he's found dead by page ten. Brown bread. Deceased. No longer of this earth. Mortal coil shuffled off. And I hope that's not giving away any secrets. But if it is - C'est la vie. Or more likely mort.

So to the story, if you're still with me . . .

After all these years Pompey has altered big style.

Bazza Mackenzie, Faradays old enemy has gone legit and has an eye on a seat in Parliament. Just another crook amongst many as far as we can see.

Paul Winter, ex-copper and Bazza's right hand man, is running scared because of all the changes, and doesn't like them one bit. He's fat, he's bald, he's getting on, and he wants out, so he agrees to turn grass on his boss, where he's handled by D/S Jimmy Suttle, who I think might turn up in more of his own books in the future.

But then things change again. Bazza goes skint, and the end game begins.

Hurley is still a master of Police Procedural and Happy Days is a superb example, even without Faraday as the main character, including the political machinations which take up a big lump of the novel.

Why this series hasn't translated to TV when so many lesser examples of the genre have, like the dog rough Rosemary and Thyme, the mind numbing Blue Murder, and worst of the lot the execrable Vera, is as much a mystery as some of the plots of these pot boilers themselves.

R.I.P. Faraday.


(From Crime Time)