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The Herring-Seller's Apprentice, by L.C. Tyler

The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice, by LC Tyler: What Makes This So Special?

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it was. Specifically, it was a dark and stormy Friday night, which meant I was working at the bookstore, where I’ve been Miss Friday for going on 18 years. I had closed up shop, but was deeply disinclined to venture out into the wet. Why don’t I pick up one of these books that my partner has ordered from England, I thought. I’ll read a chapter or two, and then maybe the rain will have stopped.

By the time I looked up from The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice, it was three in the morning. Oh nuts! I thought, I guess I’m staying the night. In fact, my complaints were purely pro forma: Staying up all night to read through this deliciously silly book in a single sitting was pure bliss. And in fact, it was a very nostalgic kind of bliss: It sent me right back to a time when for me, the right book was better than ice cream, better than cake, better than ice cream WITH cake.

And I’m far from the only member of Team Herring: We published the U.S. edition of The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice, the first in the series featuring Ethelred (a second-rate, sad-sack mystery writer) and Elsie (his superbly irritating agent), in 2009, and it was nominated for an Edgar award for best novel of the year in paperback original (more on Edgar awards in the blog). And the next year, just in case somebody had missed the message, the second book in the series, Ten Little Herrings, was nominated as well. And the year after that, Herring in the Library (that would be Herring #3) won England’s “Last Laugh” award, for the best funny mystery. You could say the books are pretty good.

Truly funny mysteries are very scarce (though sadly, mysteries by authors who think their books are funny, by authors who are trying very hard to be funny, are everywhere). For more from the truly and terrifically funny LC Tyler, please check back in a few weeks, when we’ll be posting our interview with him. For another gloriously funny series starring a lovable loser, try the “Charles Paris” series by Simon Brett (author of the “Blotto and Twinks” books), about an underemployed actor (with an agent who’s even worse than Elsie!). And if the awful Elsie has caught your fancy, you’ll enjoy Matricide at St. Martha’s, by Ruth Dudley Edwards, featuring the formidable (Miss) Jack Troutbeck.

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