12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Very slightly silly but falls between two stools,
This review is from: The Gun Seller (Paperback)
Series three of 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie' includes some sketches entitled 'The Department' which feature a first class pastiche of a secret agent and his handler with mangled cliches and nonsense dialogue delivered absolutely deadpan:
ALAN: Did he tell you what happened to my last partner?
WOMAN: Shot dead on the steps of the Prague Embassy. I've read the file.
ALAN: Yeah? Well files ain't a lot of use when you're staring down the barrel of a knife.
ALAN: Look, if you've hauled me all the way out here ...
HANDLER: Calm yourself, Alan. There's reason in my madness. Now tell me. What do you know of Carl Albert Beiderbeck?
ALAN: Beiderbeck. 5'11". Blue build, medium eyes. Father was a Romanian circus acrobat, did some courier work for the Soviets in the late fifties. Mother was a small business adviser for the Midland Bank in Altrincham. Small arms, big feet. Fluent at the violin. Distinguishing marks, a small mole in his garden.
HANDLER: Ha. I'm impressed Alan.
ALAN: I've seen the file.
Now, though the DNA of 'A bit of Fry and Laurie' is there in The Gunseller (not to mention evidence of Laurie's lifelong diet of P.G. Wodehouse) the balance of about 95% pretty competent Ludlum/Deighton thriller alloyed with 5% spoof didn't really work for me. The central character is too good at his job, makes too few mistakes and is too genuinely suave to really sit with the motif of humour which runs throughout the story, attempting to chip the edges off the seriousness but succeeding instead in undermining the empathy and suspence.
Though he undoubtedly gives good spy, the bits of Laurie were enjoyable but a little incongruous.