Sunday 1 November 2020

The Jansson Tapes (The Terry Bell Mysteries Book 3) - Colin Garrow

A tape machine. A missing writer. A mysterious woman.

When a familiar leggy blonde slides onto the back seat of his cab with the offer of work, taxi-driver and amateur sleuth Terry Bell isn’t keen. However, compared to the tedium of driving a cab all day, the lure of another mystery is too strong to resist, and Terry agrees to help. Tracking down a missing writer and his tape recorder sounds simple enough, but following the clues to a remote village, the case takes a dangerous turn when the man turns up dead. 

After the police take over, Terry and his sidekick Carol return home to find their flat ransacked—and that’s not the only surprise. Caught between a suspicious detective inspector and the machinations of a mysterious woman, can the wily investigator unravel the mystery before the killer strikes again?

The Jansson Tapes is book #3 in the Terry Bell Mystery series set on England's northeast coast.

What did I think?

Having read three Terry Bell Mysteries pretty much off the belt, I can definitely say that these books are as binge-worthy as anything I've ever watched on TV.  The Jansson Tapes is the third book in the series, but it could definitely be read as a standalone.  I've no doubt that anyone jumping into the series at this stage will want to pick up the earlier books to be further entertained by more Terry Bell shenanigans.

Taxi driver Terry certainly has a knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time but this time trouble comes looking for him when he is asked to find a missing writer and his tape recorder.  The mystery writer is using the name Tove Jansson, of Moomin fame, but this is no cartoon strip as Terry and his girlfriend Carol find themselves thrust into danger yet again.

Colin Garrow has created such a brilliant character in Terry Bell and his banter with the other characters carries the story along effortlessly.  I love Terry's sense of humour and his pretty laid back nature even when he's being chased by bad guys.  There's so much going on in the book that time flies by when you're reading and as with the earlier books, I found it amazing to have reached the end so quickly with so much ground being covered.  At only 219 pages in paperback, it may be a novella but every single word has purpose so you feel as if you've read a full length novel.

As I live in the North East of England, I love the North East setting and it's always fun to recognise places with which you're familiar in books.  Colin Garrow even includes some authentic Geordie dialect but nothing that requires a Geordie dictionary, just the odd 'pet' and 'ye' and 'ah' instead of 'you' and 'I'.

Hugely entertaining and filled with non-stop action, The Jansson Tapes is a superb addition to the Terry Bell Mystery series.  It's a series I definitely plan to read again to get my Terry Bell fix while I wait for the next instalment.  Keep them coming, Colin!

I received a gifted ebook from the author and all opinions are my own.

My rating:

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