THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY by Kingsley Amis

THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY

KIRKUS REVIEW

Don't get your hopes up, fans of The Riverside Villas Murder (1973). This second Amis mystery, originally published as a 1975 serial in London's Sunday Times, has little in common with the classic plotting and sophisticated charm of Villas. Instead, Amis offers a far-fetched mishmash--often slipping over into parody--of hoary thriller devices: criminal masterminds, cross-country manhunts, and a committee of super-sleuths (one of whom might just be the psycho-villain!). A serial killer is loose in London, knifing women and leaving the letters "S. . .O. . .U" pinned to their clothes. A maniac? Or a crafty ABC Murders imitator? Or. . .? The Ministry of Domestic Affairs sets up a special committee to investigate, a bizarre group of contrasting types: law-and-order fanatic Fergus MacBean, M.P.; radical sociologist Marcus Varga; lordly criminal lawyer Neil Costello; blocked crime-novelist Christopher Dane; activist rock-star Benedict Royal; plus a psychiatrist, a pathologist, and reps from Scotland Yard. At first, the committee seems ready to believe that a terrorist/blackmail group, the British Liberation Army, is behind all the mayhem. Then a disturbed fellow with amnesia confesses to the crimes. But one by one the sleuths become convinced that the evil genius is actually. . .one of them. Sporadically entertaining--with occasional Amis drolleries--but too episodic, arbitrary, and just-plain-silly to sustain interest.
Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1989
ISBN: 0445403454
Page count: 162pp
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1989




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