Gregory Fallis is a former private detective and author of books about the science of detection. He brings these chops to his delightful collection of stories in Dog on Fire, but he doesn’t brag. Instead he focuses on two of the most original and likeable characters in the genre: Kevin Sweeney and Joop Wheeler. Joop hails from the south, Kevin from the northeast. Throughout these stories we get to learn about them, Kevin’s Irish wife, their various challenges and successes. By the end of the series of stories, you’ll find yourself longing for more about these two. Lots more.
The stories themselves are excellent – wonderfully written so they slide down smooth as butter, filled with interesting characters and mysteries, and fun. They all have what I like to call an O’Henry ending – a sudden turn that surprises and delights. Violence is scarce, and relatively harmless, and each story has such an original premise that you can’t help but smile when you realize the solution to the puzzles Fallis creates. All the clues are there, he doesn’t cheat – but the endings still charm. My favourites are Maybe the Horse, where they find an unusually cheating spouse, Kinsella’s Saloon, where Gaelic is brought to bear, and the Lord of Obstacles. And Second Mouse. And Dog on Fire. Heck, I like them all.
This is unbelievably cheap for such a collection – well worth the purchase even if you have to cope with the Kindle cloud. Just buy it.