I was introduced to Charlie Mortdecai by accident. Looking for a book to read (any book to read) I found a copy of the Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery for 30 cents at a small town library in a that liminal zone in South Australia between civilization and the outback. On the cover, an enticing caricature was tending to one end of his moustache while lightning struck the peak of a manor home off in the distance. After forcing myself to finish "The Life of Pi" (a terrible book to take backpacking - save it for lazy weekends or resort holidays) I was impressed by the largesse of the typeface and brevity of the page count. I wasn't looking for commitment, only to indulge in the pleasure of reading.The adventures of Charlie Mortdecai aren't encumbered by plot or sympathetic characters or existential rambling. Words are merely arranged on the page and demand nothing more of the reader. Yet it's all so satisfying.
The books in this collection, however, are restrained at times. It's as though the writer was forced to compromise with the conventions of the genre to meet the expectations of either himself, his editor, or the audience. As novels, they are adequate. As literature they are excellent....Continua