Literate, entertaining, fast-paced and funny, John Elliott's Dying to Read deserves to be a cult classic. With a central mystery, a romance, a peek at the seedy side of life and a cast of eccentric, exaggerated, personable and endearing characters, it has all that the intelligent reader could want, and more. Elliott's people make delightfully preposterous literary allusions, and he teases with glancing insider references to jazz, horse racing, Scotch, the crime fiction genre and history. I'm sure I missed loads of hidden jokes, but giggled with glee when I spotted one (how many know about `the king over the water'?). On top of this Dying to Read is witty and precise in its descriptions of locations and today's contemporary London mix, from the hinterland of Bedfont and Feltham to high tea at Fortnum and Mason. I disagree with the reviewer here who bemoans a lack of commas; I found Elliot's punctuation part of his pacing and voice; he makes you sit up and pay attention. A tiddly flaw is the occasional typo - a few times a sentence begins with lower case instead of initial cap. Perhaps some of the resolution is a wee bit complicated - but I was having too much fun to mind. I'd like to see Geraldine, Hamish, Norma, DC Pat - and maybe Jerzy? - solve another crime. And to find out what else Lacenaire the parrot has to say.