Charles Unwin is a file clerk working for a huge detective agency, and all he knows about solving mysteries comes from filing reports for the illustrious investigator Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing, and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach.
In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed with only an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people's dreams. In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin is a humble file clerk working for a huge and imperious detective agency, and all he knows about solving mysteries comes from filing reports for the illustrious investigator Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing, and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach. His only guidance comes from his new assistant, who would be perfect if she weren't so sleepy, and from the pithy yet profound "Manual of Detection". Unwin mounts his search for Sivart, but is soon framed for murder, pursued by goons and gunmen, and confounded by the infamous femme fatale Cleo Greenwood. Meanwhile, strange and troubling questions proliferate: Why does the mummy at the Municipal Museum have modern-day dental work? Where have all the city's alarm clocks gone? Why is Unwin's copy of the Manual missing Chapter 18? When he discovers that the greatest of Sivart's cases - including 'The Three Deaths of Colonel Baker' and 'The Man who Stole the Twelfth of November' - were never solved correctly, he must enter the dreams of a murdered man and face a criminal mastermind bent on total control of a slumbering city. "The Manual of Detection" will draw comparison to every work of imaginative fiction that ever blew a reader's mind. But, ultimately, it defies comparison; it is a brilliantly conceived, meticulously realised novel that will change what you think about how you think.
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"Imaginative, fantastical, sometimes inexplicable, labyrinthine and ingenious...Great fun and very clever. My comparison? Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman - which is about as good as it gets." Observer "a clever, startlingly original blend of fantasy and crime." Waterstone's Books Quarterly "Like Sin City, this is a noir fairytale, with the grey-scale, drizzly streets and shabby cafes contrasted by fluorescent, primary colour characters...Berry's work is reminiscent of the coolest young American novelists - Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Glen David Gold - in its sheer delight at how genre writing can be re-invigorated and re-imagined. The Manual of Detection makes the weird, fantastical world of the unconsciousness seem comically logical - like its subject, it is a dream." Scotland on Sunday "A wryly cerebral take on noir fiction...Separated conjoined twin gangsters, a duplicitous femme fatale and a nightmarish carnival owner inhabit the nocturnal, rain-soaked city where this clever, postmodern detective story is set." Financial Times "'I was impressed, besotted, and transported by The Manual of Detection. Such a great book!'" Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club and Sister Noon
About Jedediah Berry
Jedediah Berry was raised in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New American Voices and Best American Fantasy. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he works as assistant editor of Small Beer Press.
The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
Used - Very Good
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