James McClure’s ‘The Steam Pig’ – a great crime novel that grates

November 18th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 2 comments § permalink

James McClure’s first crime novel featuring Lieutenant Tromp Kramer and Constable Mickey Zondi, The Steam Pig, appears on a couple of Top Ten lists for police procedurals. The setting, like that of my first crime story, is South Africa. So I was very keen to read the book. Doing so, however, wasn’t the unmitigated pleasure I had hoped for. The reasons are complex.

It is clear from the first line that McClure is a witty writer: For an undertaker George Henry Abbott was a sad man.

If that’s not a great first line, I don’t what is. The Steam Pig has a great many equally delightful sentences and some wonderful twists, though partly offset » Read the rest of this entry «

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