Caractacus Jones and the Case of the Murdered Mother cross-breeds genres like they're going out of fashion, effortlessly combining the quirk of Pushing Daisies, the whimsy of Douglas Adams and the murder mystery of Agatha Christie to produce a story that is every bit as good as that sounds and is, all things considered, more original and exciting than it has any right to be!
When we first encounter Hollie Blythe, she is behind on her rent with no choice but to attend the soul-destroying hell that is her local job centre. Immediately, we're on side. We've all been there, we can all relate, and as such she becomes the audience's identification figure, the ordinary within the extraordinary, and our eyes and ears to the wonderful insanity that quickly ensues.
Said insanity begins when she meets the brilliant but bonkers Caractacus Jones, a Paranormal Investigator, looking to recruit a new secretary, who is, like all the best detectives, interesting because of his eccentricity; like Sherlock Holmes, like Dirk Gently, his mind works in mystifying, marvellous and mad ways - the only downside of which is a lack of understanding regarding social convention. But his loss is our gain, as this makes for a unique, offbeat and engaging hero with cool glasses - Morse never had cool glasses! Besides, he can be partially forgiven for his social ineptitude when you consider that his cases aren't your typical run-of-the-mill police procedurals, his clients not exactly what you'd expect... intrigued yet?
To give away further plot details would be to spoil half of the fun, so all I'll say is that this book is a warm, witty, fast-paced supernatural-who-dunnit-comedy that I'd recommend reading with a nice pot of tea close to hand. More please, and soon.