Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Book Review: Mr Dixon Disappears by Ian Sansom

In Mr Dixon Disappears author Ian Sansom gives his second outing to his character, Israel Armstrong; mobile librarian to a small Irish town and, once again, a reluctant and incapable detective. Having settled successfully the previous Case of the Missing Books and been reluctantly  accepted as part of the scenery in his adopted home in County Antrim, Israel embarks on a new project, a display of the history of the town's oldest store, only to find himself as the chief suspect in the disappearance of Mr Dixon, the owner of the store.

This light-hearted story begins with an interesting and entertaining premise, with a style that is easy to read and relaxing, introducing many of the characters from the previous installment. However, after a promising start the author seems to have gone into auto-pilot and most of the characters in this tale end up having no purpose other than as a nod to fans of the previous story, almost as if they were a catch-phrase to be acknowledged in a mid 1980s sitcom.

Characters come and go in this short novel with no impact on proceedings at all, and those that do have some relevance vanish almost before the reader has noticed them while the personality of the main character does not develop beyond the bumbling incompetent that is supposed to provide a comedy element. I really enjoyed the first outing of Israel Armstrong in The Case of the Missing Books but in this effort the author turns an amusing character into an annoying one.

Unfortunately, the plot of this story does not rescue it either; despite the interesting start and the potential for a real mystery nothing really happens afterwards leaving a plot that is incredibly thin on content. Israel bumbles through a couple of interviews with the police and potential leads without making even the most remote of progress when all of a sudden the mystery is solved and the book ends as if the author got bored with the whole thing and had to finish to an imminent deadline.

If you enjoyed the previous installment featuring this character then you might enjoy this one but I do not recommend this as a reader's introduction to this author. For those who enjoy light reading that raises a smile or two this might be enjoyable but there is far better out there that does the same but far better. I will not be reading the third installment in this series.

Score: 3/10

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