The book begins with a "Postscript" and ends with a section titled "In The Beginning." I thought I was in for a 21st century spin on the old inverted detective novel so masterfully handled by R. Austin Freeman and made popular on TV in "Columbo". But I was wrong. There is a hint that the reader knows that Tressider is up to something other than just tracking down a murderer, but the book does indeed follow the format of a traditional whodunit.
After an opening chapter introducing the jaded Tressider and his brash, vulgar agent Elsie (whose outbursts seem forced and not too funny) the book settles in for an intriguing blend of whodunit and con game thriller. Tressider's ex-wife Geraldine has apparently committed suicide. The police find a rental car in her name parked near the shoreline, inside the car an oddly written suicide note signed "Cordially yours, G Tressider (Mrs.)," and some clothes set out on the beach. When a strangled woman's body is found nearby and Tressider is asked to confirm its identity, he has a compulsion to discover what really happened. The plot takes a very strange turn with the introduction of a serial killer targetting blond women and the discovery of a secret Swiss bank account in Geraldine's name.
"…I have to point out that here was your other mistake. You thought this was a detective story. In fact, it was love story all along."
L.C. Tyler's Mysteries (all dates are from the UK editions)
The Herring Seller's Apprentice (2007) - Edgar nomination as "Best Paperback Original"
Ten Little Herrings (2009) - Edgar nomination as "Best Paperback Original"
The Herring in the Library (2010)