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Mystery Man Paperback – 14 May 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; Reprint edition (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755346750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755346752
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Bateman is no slacker when it comes to producing comic crime masterpieces. --The Mirror --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

MYSTERY MAN has recently been optioned by SMG, the makers of Taggart and Rebus, to be developed for television; they are currently seeking to attach a high profile cast

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
There's plenty of humour to be found and a great deal of potential for further development (and even a rumoured TV series) in Bateman's creation of the Mystery Man. A small independent bookseller, the "hero" is the owner of Belfast's premiere crime specialist bookstore No Alibis ('Murder is our Business'), who gets mixed up in a series of misadventures when customers start turning up to the shop looking for him to solve small cases now that the Private Detective next door seems to have closed-up business. Stolen leather trousers and a missing person he can deal with - just about - but when he gets involved in the Case of the Dancing Jew, not to mention mixed up with the girl from the jewellery shop across the road, it takes more than a few Twix and Starbucks coffees to shake him out of his closeted existence.

A genuine bookshop in Belfast on Botanic Avenue, No Alibis, its owner and its customers don't get perhaps receive the most flattering of depictions, but this is Bateman's particularly self-deprecatory Belfast type of humour and it's very funny, so it is. A few old jokes/stories/urban legends that have done the rounds for years are dug up and dusted down, the neurotic lead character perhaps owes something to Ignatius J. Reilly from John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces (or they've at least shared a ward together at some point), but it's all just a means for Bateman to poke fun at local types - booksellers, publishers, ex-paramilitary taxi drivers, street thugs (Botanic Avenue Irregulars indeed) and local small businessmen - not in a mean spirited way, but in a lightly humorous and sometimes just downright hilarious manner.
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Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed Colin Bateman all the way from "Divorcing Jack" - I have even forgiven him the rubbish that was "Maid of the Mist" - but to an extent in the last 5/6 years he's got a bit formulaic.

This is a real break from that though - the hero is a brilliant character - weirdo verging(?) on autistic - but genuinly interesting and clever.

Like all Colin Bateman books the plot is secondary to the one-liners and the jokes - but that was also true for PG Woodhouse and so it ain't a criticism!
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Format: Paperback
Mystery man is an interesting book. It starts promisingly with a good set up but then falls into a bit of a pit as more detail about the main character (whose name we never learn) and his neurotic nature are revealed.

The character is the owner of a specialist crime bookshop in Belfast who takes on an investigative role when the private detective next door vanishes.

But then the character gradually reveals himself to be a repressed, almost autistic, child of neglecting parents with an absurd number of foibles that start off mild and believable but become more and more extreme as we go. Ultimately it is over the top and detracts from the focus of the novel as a crime story.

It's first person and it is well written. Some of the characters do come across as a bit stereotypical but that might just be because we are seeing through the eyes of the nameless lead. I just found that the pace of character building was slow and over-dominant.
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Format: Paperback
I had not heard of this author and bought 'Mystery Man' on impulse, partly because it had a positive review from Ian Rankin, one of my favourite crime authors.
I loved it! It's nothing like Rankin but it's equally as good in its gleeful, quirky, outrageous way.
If you like your heroes to be dysfunctional, this is the book for you.
The nameless narrator takes dysfunction to new and hilarious levels.
Be Warned: I hooted with laughter, even when reading the book in public, so be prepared for funny looks if you take it out of the house.
However, it mixes the chaos of the narrators' thoughts with genuine suspense, unease and plot twists. It also features a fabulous, feisty Sidekick for our reluctant detective.
I've recommended this book to all my friends, whether crime fans or not, and I recommend it to you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Intrigued by the author's one name and the quirky titles of other books by him, I gave this a go. I was amused - in a pleasant, smiling-to-oneself-on-the-train sort of way - for a while. But the humour didn't change, the character didn't change, and the repetitive asides relating to his phobias etc became just tiresome. I wasn't sure where the plot was going and the minor little "cases" which he solved didn't fill me with great expectation of an exciting resolution of the murder mystery. The characters didn't seem particularly real - in itself, that might have been fun and part of the comic background, but it wasn't - what they did or thought didn't ever feel justified, eg why on earth would Alison stick around for that long, it was never really explained (and would the police really be fobbed off so often with his excuses?). The book was simply too long - I gave up at page 264 (I really did try) and skipped to the last couple of pages, and I'm sorry to say I'm glad I did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an enjoyable, knowingly derivative mish-mash of a book: the fun is in finding the elements culled from the methods of other mystery writers, notably Lawrence Block, but also Alexander Macall Smith, Dashiell Hammett and I'm sure others that I missed, and in watching the characters develop. "Orpheus Rising" was a disappointing "Lovely Bones", this is a book of a writer still keen to experiment and almost, but not quite, at ease with his creation.
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