Private detective John Handful (former James Bond type) turns into Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot to solve mysteries in the coastal village of Oxmarket.
The first John Handful book ‘A Handful of Secrets’ introduces us to private detective John Handful of Handful Investigations, we see a glimpse of John Handful’s James Bondlike past and his grief for his deceased wife Zoë. Detective Inspector Paul Silver is John’s friend who calls in John whenever he has a case that puzzles him. There are ten mysteries in John Handful’s Casebook, all taking place in the village of Oxmarket, a Suffolk coastal town. The stories are pleasantly written and inviting, with a touch of Agatha Christie’s Poirot as John Handful gathers everyone around him to point a finger at the culprit. The second volume of short stories ‘Double Handful’ gives John Handful more mysteries to solve.
John Handful Novel #1: Blind Spot
Again the setting is the coastal village of Oxmarket, where our intelligent detective lives. We meet him as he picks up the pieces of his life after the tragic death of his wife Zoë. John Handful has fallen in love again with the beautiful brunette Kimberly. His detective agency Handful Investigations is starting to make some profit, DI Paul Silver is still the Oxmarket Head of Police and asks John in on many an investigation. One day, a man is found on the beach. Was it a murder, suicide or accident? Why would anyone walk the dangerous path along the cliffs in bad weather, especially one who has very little eyesight? And why did the church bells keep ringing? Dig in the case with John Handful and watch him unravel the mystery of Simon Nunn’s death in Andrew Hixson’s exciting crime debut. If you are in for a nice mystery book, you’ll find ‘Blind Spot’ an enjoyable read.
John Handful Novel #2: The Oxmarket Aspal Murder Mystery
John Handful is back to investigate what seems to be an open and shut case: the murder of the widowed cleaning lady Faith Roberts. Her lodger Marcus Dye was tried and convicted of this gruesome murder. To find the real murderer, John Handful has to take up rooms in the Bellagamba Guest House within the small village of Oxmarket Aspal, an unorganised and chaotic household if ever there was one. A newspaper clip provides to be a clue to the murder but how and why is yet in the dark. Who is the real murderer of Faith Roberts? Another inhabitant falls into the hands of the murderer and by the way: was John Handful almost pushed in front of a train or what? In the last scenes of the book we the detective assembling all involved to explain how he has reached his conclusions and to reveal the murderer(s).
Does this plot sound familiar? If you are an Agatha Christie fan, it does. It is Agatha Christie’s ‘Mrs McGinty’s Dead, moved to the coastal village of Oxmarket Aspal. This current novel follows the ingenuity of the plot to the letter and reciprocates all the complicated original events in, according to his own words, Andrew Hixson’s “ultimate tribute to the Queen of Crime.” However, the reader is not informed of this. If it had stated so on the first page of the book, the reader would know and could admire the transformation of the original plot to modern days. Without this knowledge, it simply felt wrong reading something not deriving from the author’s imagination. It is well-written and a pleasant read but had I known beforehand that it was supposed to be a tribute, I would have enjoyed reading it much more.
About the Author
Since his commission for writing a few James Bond short stories for the MI6-fanpage Andrew Hixson has never stopped writing. Andrew Hixson is the author of the John Handful series: A Handful Of Secrets and Double Handful (both short story collections), Blind Spot (John Handful Novel #1), The Oxmarket Aspal Murder Mystery (John Handful Novel #2) and Death is for the Dying (John Handful Novel #3). All his thrillers feature lateral thinking private detective John Handful. Andrew Hixson won a Waterstones Short Story award for best Halloween short story. A former logistics supervisor for a local distribution firm, Andrew lives in Suffolk with his wife, two daughters and two granddaughters.
Book Info: A John Handful Novel #1
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (8 July 2014)|
Book Info: A John Handful Novel #2
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (4 Sept. 2015)|