My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Amateur
When a familiar leggy blonde slides onto the back seat of his cab with the offer of work, taxi-driver, and amateur sleuth Terry Bell isn’t keen. However, compared to the tedium of driving a cab all day, the lure of another mystery is too strong to resist, and Terry agrees to help. Tracking down a missing writer and his tape recorder sounds simple enough, but following the clues to a remote village, the case takes a dangerous turn when the man turns up dead. After the police take over, Terry and his sidekick Carol return home to find their flat ransacked—and that’s not the only surprise.
Set in England,The Jansson Tapes is book #3 in the Terry Bell Mystery series but can be easily read as a stand-alone book, like I did.
The Jansson tape is a quick good-feel read for a weekend afternoon. It does not waste time setting up the plot and introducing the reader to the characters. The central character is Terry - the smart & witty amateur sleuth who also drives the taxi when he does not have a paying job to investigate. His girlfriend & sidekick Carol is not only intelligent but also very supportive of his work, even though she has to face near-death experiences in the past. Then there is the caravan owner Sheila and her employee Ralph who is friends with both Terry & Carol. These characters are common from the previous books so if you can start from the first, you will have more background of the cast.
The case starts quite simple - a writer has gone missing along with his tapes & notes for the book he is writing. Terry & Carol manage to gather some clues and it leads them to the dead body of the writer. They report the dead body to Inspector Charis Brown who is not impressed at all to see Terry involved in another murder case of hers. The story moves quite fast in each chapter but the writing never loses its humor and clarity. The action is easy to follow and keep one hooked to the story. The characters are all lovable, regular folks who never lose their head in any situation. I love one of the pizza dinner scenes a lot in this book between Terry & Carol. That made me spare a quick laugh.
Where the book lacks a little is giving more details about the characters and the plot. I would have liked to know more about the dead writer and his book and the conclusion for publishing his work in the end. The book is good for beginners to enjoy a quick mystery but others might need a little more layers.
Book Links: Amazon US | Goodreads
About the Author: Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin has published three stage plays, six adventures for middle grade readers, two books of short stories, the Watson Letters series and the Terry Bell Mysteries.
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