Confessions from the Beat by Jonathan May (Sphere, 1975) This is the third in the Jonathan May 'Confessions' series, penned by Laurence James following Christopher Woods' departure to Futura and taking his Timothy Lea series with him. As you can tell from the title, in this volume Jonathan May joins the police, the Met actually. I am about a quarter of the way through the book right now. It started off fairly brightly with May searching for his landlady's daughter's hedgehog in a neighbour's garden and being mistaken for a knicker snatcher. After a romantic encounter with his buxom neighbour, who turns out to be a policewoman, he is blackmailed into joining up otherwise she will have him arrested, as she snapped him covered with her undies after he knocked down a washing-line. So, at the moment, May is beginning his training at the police college...
Well, as with my first exposure to Jonathan May, this one started off reasonably well though even after only a quarter of the book read, I have noticed once again the large number of lame jokes that pepper the narrative, breaking up the flow. Also, May has given us a recipe--I think he did that in the first book as well. So far, only one encounter, not really described in much detail. I am not sure if this one is going to flagg as 'Confessions of a Shop Assistant' did, but by the beginning of Chapter 4 I felt the first stirrings that it might do so--hope I am wrong.
I read a further couple of chapters last night and, to be honest, I found it hard going. All those jokes really break up the flow of the story. We all know that Laurence James could tell a cracking good story, but I do get the impression that he wasn't entirely comfortable with writing novel-length humour. Whereas the Lea books derive their humour from characters and situations, it is the jokes that perform the same function to a large extent in the Mays, or that is how it appears to me after reading one and a third books.
Well, a year after my last post on this book, I am still no further on in completing it. As with the first entry in the series that I read, it sagged after a decent start and I found it hard going. I shall probably give it another go at some time, but based on reading about one and a third books in this series, I prefer greatly Timothy Lea's adventures.