The Diamond Brothers in…The Falcon’s Malteser.
A Graph Review: 50 with highpoint 65
Anthony Horowitz, creator of Foyle’s War has a huge backlist of creative writing and I have just read one from 1985, part of a small series. How did I come across this?
Because assorted young grandsons are committed readers of his ……Alex Rider Series…. and I decided to see what they were enjoying so much. (Another popular series of his is: The Power of Five). The local bookshop had quite a number of his children’s books so I picked one that the grandsons had not read, probably because on reading the blurb it appeared to be ‘crime’ rather than fantasy. Yes, even for the ten-year olds we hit the usual genres. Well, sort of, in my day it would have been labelled mystery rather than crime. On thinking about it ‘mystery’ would have covered almost every subject though I remember science fiction as gathering pace in between my staples of Famous Five, Jennings, Biggles, William and of John Pudney titles about holiday adventures in boats…are Pudney books still available I wonder? I know the first four authors keep re-issuing but possibly only for a smaller or nostalgia market now. Not that I have revisited those books of fifty-odd years ago…yet. Now I have to rein myself in as the authors are beginning to crowd in looking for attention, must be like mediums claim when they are having a ‘reading’.
The Diamond Brothers in…..The Falcon’s Malteser
Walker books 978 1406341423. £5.99. Paper
Three other titles in the Diamond Brothers Series are listed plus other titles and the two series mentioned above.
This little series follows a young man, Tim and his young brother as they try live together, on their own in Fulham, London, after their parents emigrated to Australia. Current mode of eking a living for Tim is as a private detective mostly by accident and because he failed at anything else. His brother, Nick, a young schoolboy is the vital part of the duo.
It’s a long time since I read a young teenage novel, over 50 years, and this book was first published in 1986 so is no spring chicken itself.
But guess what, this is a book that pays homage to and rips up the old classic Maltese Falcon film with it’s classic stars of Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor. A welcome role for Lauren Bacall (sadly recently deceased) as key player in that genre if not in the film and its entourage of characters, black and white, that live on so vividly.
If you want reality you may be disappointed but as a fun read that digs into your nostalgic ribs and gives twists to old plots, then this is one to go for. Obviously not an ‘adult’ read but the story itself is happily busy, fast moving and with some good touches of humour fitting into the ‘slapstick’ mould which sit well with the intended reader and with me too. The whole pleasure of the read is magnified with the nods and steals from the film. Some readers may find this a distraction but I found it quite fun. Maybe the younger readers would miss the parallels and tangents with ‘Maltese Falcon’ but I reckon the scrapes of Tim and the quicker thinking Nick make this crime story readable for all.
Danger, diamonds, murder (several, sort of), kidnap, secret-safe and secret-code fill the book. A white grand piano slips in nicely too. We even get a highly descriptive, edge-of-the-seat escape and another twist or two at the end to fill the book with plot. All because of a box of maltesers.
If you like reading a wide variety of crime fiction, or any other I suppose, then this title is a good read. It does not take long, fun to read with added layers for those with long memories. The Diamond Brothers are also worth a try if you are a reader of the likes of L.C.Tyler’s “Herring Seller’s Apprentice and others in his series. I will dip into another, and pass them on to my grandsons.
And remember that a quality author (and screenwriter) is always worth reading, whatever market they are aiming for and Anthony Horowitz is such a one.