The Golden Pig – The Penny Brothers

TGPTPB The Golden Pig from the Penny Brothers – Mark and Jonathan – is a comic crime caper set in England (mainly London with a foray to the south coast) featuring Hymie Goldman, the "defective detective".  The book itself has unusual origins in that it started life as a competition between the two brothers as to who could write "the most exciting and outrageous plotlines, the most believable yet quirky characters and the funniest dialogue and gags".  This resulted in the brothers taking it in turn to write "parts" and hence we have novel made up of parts as opposed to chapters.  Clearly feeling the competition was tough, each brother has maintained the comedy well and the gags never let up from the first page to the last.  As with many comic crime caper novels, the plot carries a scattergun approach and it's impossible to anticipate where you're going to go in the next part.  From part one, here's some of the introduction to Hymie:

Hymie Goldman was a detective of no fixed abode, hairstyle, or opinions: they all came and went like the north wind.  Unlike his name, he wasn't Jewish; the closest he'd ever come to Judaism was walking past a synagogue in Golders Green.  His real name was Artie Shaw, after the once famous but now deceased jazz clarinettist.  As dead musicians weren't noted for their investigative skills, and he was frequently skating on the thin ice of bankruptcy, he'd begun changing his name in a futile attempt to attract new clients and repel old creditors.  It had worked in reverse and he was now on his third identity.  At least it gave him the chance to advertise himself as "under new management" from time to time…

… Everything about Goldman was a twenty-five carat fake: in his thirty-eight years on the planet he had pretended to be so many things to so many people that he scarcely knew who he was any longer. His flat had been repossessed so many times that he kept a suitcase by the front door. Having recently been evicted, he now lived in his office, contrary to the terms of the lease. Most of his meagre belongings had to be hidden from the bailiffs when he wasn’t actually using them, and even the clothes he stood up in bore the hallmark of the charity shop; a cut that didn’t flatter and a style that was last fashionable in 1986 …

If you love comic crime, then you might want to give these debut authors a try.  If you're British and over forty, you might also find yourself smiling at the comments on the UK's social mores and culture over the last three decades; acutely observed, they have an ascerbic twist to them.  Expect family shenanigans, Chinese triads, a nasty old woman, a frightening experience on the south coast, an explosive time in London, a pizza-loving Hymie and a non-performing policeman who just doesn't get it when it comes to marital counselling (or driving for that matter).  The Golden Pig starts with the theft of a golden pig and involves the theft of champion race horse later; you really won't anticipate what's coming next, but there are gags-a-plenty to maintain the comedy.

The Golden Pig is out now.  More on the novel and the authors (with further excerpts) can be found here.


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