This week’s Series I Love post is Andrew Cartmel’s Vinyl Dectective – in honour of the sixth instalment which came out this week. It was on my preorder list so it turned up on Tuesday (along with Selma Blair’s memoir) and I’m already getting stuck into it. It’s five years since Written in Dead Wax was a BotW so it’s time for a revisit
The series follows the Vinyl Detective (we don’t know his name) a record connoisseur and audiophile who earns a living by hunting out rare records and selling them on to other collectors. In the first book of the series it’s an elusive jazz record and in each book we’ve had a different genre – psychedelic rock, wartime big band music, electric folk, punk and now Scandi death metal. The series also has a regular gang around our detective – and a regular antagonist in their quest for rarities. I won’t say more about who they are because it spoils some of the plot of the first book! Oh and there are cats.
There’s always a degree of peril – more peril than you would expect in record collection to be honest as the guys have escaped death a few times now. There’s also a lot of wit and charm and plenty of in jokes and references to the music that the book is centred on. In fact I’m fairly sure I miss some stuff because I’m not a super fan of any of the genres that the books have covered so far. Sadly boybands of the 90s and early 2000s didn’t really release music on vinyl, so unless there’s a Queen inspired instalment i may never quite understand the full extent of the references – but there are plenty for the casual observer of music over the years.
Andrew Cartmel writes for the Rivers of London graphic novel series, so it’s probably not a surprise that his style of writing appeals to me. I did try to pick a favourite, but I’ve found it really hard. I loved the punk one but I do wonder if that is recency bias, becuase it’s the most recent. So then I thought it was probably the big band one, but then I remembered the folk one is very clever and then I realised that that is half the series, which is ridiculous. You probably do want to start at the beginning though – because it sets the whole gang up as well as being very funny. And then you can pretty much do what you want – read in order or read as your musical tastes dictate. And if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, the first book Written in Dead Wax is available in that at the moment, so there’s no excuse there either. They also should be fairly easily available from bookshops – I’ve certainly seen them in the mystery sections of all the ones i’ve been in recently (that’ll be Foyles and Waterstones!).
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