This is the story of Marlowe, a down-at-heel private eye who finds himself on the case of a lifetime. Hired by Mussels Malloy, a man with a penchant for seafood and a chest like a burst sofa, to find his missing girlfriend, the lovely Velma, Marlowe blows the lid off the underworld to reveal not only hoods, but shysters, traffic wardens, good time girls, bad time girls who get better, more traffic wardens et al.
Does the plot sound vaguely familiar? This spoof of Raymond Chandler's 'Farewell My Lovely' is rich in Dawsonian humour. To give a few examples: 'My years working in a Shaolin monastery near Kidderminster learning kung fu, karate and double glazing hadn't been in vain.', 'His mother was a music-hall artiste, part of an act called 'The Martha Haggett Trombone Romany Dwarfs', 'I read the morning newspapers and showered and the papers got soaked.'.
Anyone who remembers Les' monologues on 'Sez Les' and other shows will recognise the style instantly. Yes, its funny, often very funny, but one wishes Les had taken the trouble to parody the pulp private eye genre a bit more strongly, instead of merely using the plot as a peg on which to hang the gags. The net result is more akin to a joke book rather than a novel. Spike Milligan later wrote a string of literary parodies, beginning with 'The Bible', and these were more on-target.
Les was an extremely gifted writer, as anyone who's read 'A Card For The Clubs' will testify. This ain't in the same class, blue eyes.