REVIEW: The Terror and the Tortoiseshell

Today’s e-​​mail brought a note from author John Travis that Publishers Weekly had reviewed his mystery The Designated Coconut. Plus, they liked it! Hooray!

pwk_logoBritish author Travis’s quirky second Benji Spriteman whodunit (after 2010’s The Terror and the Tortoiseshell) offers a welcome return to a universe where, two years after an event known as the Terror, humans have been mostly wiped out. Abhoring a vacuum, nature has replaced humanity with animals, who have changed form — many walking upright and talking in human language. The altered creatures have filled the void in the workplace as well, taking over the occupations that used to employ people. Spriteman, a cat who has assumed the last name and business of his late human owner, is a 1950s-​​style hard-​​bitten PI. His latest exploit has an unlikely catalyst: “two female crime writers from overseas were coming to do a book tour.” Meanwhile, the magazine Dismemberment Monthly begins receiving threatening letters. Murder follows. Travis shows a deft hand for detail, as shown by the police using a flock of pigeons to mark the outline of a dead body with their droppings. (May)


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