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Malcolm Pryce Books In Order

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Publication Order of Aberystwyth Noir Books

Aberystwyth Mon Amour (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Last Tango in Aberystwyth (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Don't Cry For Me Aberystwyth (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
From Aberystwyth with Love (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Day Aberystwyth Stood Still (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Aberystwyth Noir Audiobooks Books

Aberystwyth Mon Amour: The Walking Tour (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Private Detective Louie Knight (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Jack Wenlock, Railway Detective Books

The Case of the 'Hail Mary' Celeste (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Corpse in the Garden of Perfect Brightness (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Malcolm Pryce is an English author of humor, mystery, and thrillers best known for his noir detective books. He was born in Shrewsbury, England, where he spent part of his childhood before moving to Aberystwyth at nine. He attended Penglais Comprehensive School and later left to focus on traveling. After taking several jobs, including working in a hotel, BMW assembly line, and on a yacht, Pryce would later concentrate on advertising copywriting in different countries, including Britain and Singapore. He is a resident of Oxford.

Malcolm Pryce’s writing style resembles Raymond Chandler’s, with the only difference being that his books are set in an alternate reality in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth. The main character of his books is Louie Knight, one of the most renowned investigators dealing with the local Druids’ organized crimes. He also focuses on the disappearance cases of the local town’s youths and is somehow involved in the film industry.

Aberystwyth, Mon Amour is the first book in the Louie Knight Mystery series. We are introduced to a man by the name of Louie Knight. He works as a detective in the town run by the druids, and he might do well to listen to the advice of the local ice cream seller, who warns him against making friends or lest he spends most of his days attending their funerals. Malcolm Pryce has woven a crime noir with a heavy dose of pastiche to get you hooked from the first page to the last.

With young school boys dropping dead like flies, Knight is tasked by the town’s most famous nightclub singer, Montez, to investigate brutal killings. Of course, Knight is aware of the risks of undertaking such an investigation in a town overrun by the local gangs. His PE teacher was Herod Jenkins, his headmaster that the Grand Wizard of the Druids, and Knight’s best friend died after he was sent to run around the school field in the middle of a snowstorm. Despite the local small-time criminals, the Bronzinis and the Llewellyns are responsible for what happens in the town.

Malcolm Pryce’s debut book features a blend of whimsy mixed with genuine mystery. At one point, the investigator finds a metallic scrap in the bedroom of one of his victims. After discovering its woolen, he contacts a forensic expert to examine it. In the background lurks Patagonia War veterans, who the author doesn’t hesitate to give a chance, and through their perspective, we are able to learn the deep dark secret they kept.

The fictional town of Aberystwyth is a dark and evil world. Beneath the beautiful seaside façade lies a dark and seedy world of intrigue. The cops are corrupt, the prostitutes roam the streets in traditional stovepipe hats, and nobody on the roads can be trusted. Louie Knight and his sidekick Calamity Jane work day and night to discover the truth behind the deaths and disappearances before it’s too late. Malcolm Pryce’s writing style evokes the 1920s crime noir brilliantly. His private eye is Knight, who is true to this genre. Alongside his sidekick, Knight will do whatever it takes to deal with all the heinous crimes committed by the local mafioso-druids and sleeper agents disguised as everything from Christmas Santa to Catholic nuns.

Pryce’s choice of setting is beautifully brought alive through his lyrical description that’s evocative to anyone who has ever been in a Welsh caravan. The author also creates many mythoi around the alternate Wales setting. For example, the country experienced the equivalent of the Vietnam war during a failed attempt to overthrow Patagonia in 1961. Malcolm Pryce’s The Case of Hail Mary Celeste, the first book in the Jack Wenlock Railway Detective series, is set in the same town as the Louie Knight Mystery series. And while this new series may seem the same, the new series is so much closer to reality than the Aberystwyth books, and the two series benefit and lose from this.

Jack Wenlock is a Railway Gosling, resulting from one of the bizarre eugenics studies that were popular during and after World War I.

He is the last survivor of a group of orphans who were stamped at birth with the picture of a train engine and raised to consider the Great Western Railway as their own family. By the end of 1947, the railway family was to be destroyed by nationalization, and most Goslings died and disappeared; some developed mental illnesses, and others were disgraced.

Jack is counting the days until what he knew as home disappears- but then a young woman walks into his office, and everything changes. The best side is the author’s love for the Great Western Railway. The author captures vividly the emotional intensity that the railways have held for some people, even giving some part to the young Doctor Beeching, a true hater of the railways, and climaxing with a list of more than 2000 stations that Doctor Beeching advised closing in his report.

In contrast to the Aberystwyth novels, where most players are shown in aspic, this series has much more significant development and growth. This is a tale of lost innocence – at first, Wenlock believes that the government and the powerful are compassionate benefactors. Still, he eventually realizes they take a brutal “end justifies the means” stance. Simultaneously, he evolves from being emotionally immature to knowing love for the first time. The authors add some information in the interleaved sections from the ‘1931 Gosling Annual,’ mainly the ‘Answers to Readers’ Letters,’ where we are never shown what was written. Still, the responses show that most readers wished to create chaos and murder.

In some ways, the Jack Wenlock, Railway series debut novel is a story with a closer attachment to reality than Malcolm Pryce’s previous books and with stronger character development. Overall, The Case of the Hail Mary Celeste constitutes an intricate, eccentric, sophisticated, and intriguing blend of history, farce, gumshoe fiction, curiously moving love tale, and political censure. It is hilarious, tragic, emotional, nostalgic, and romantic. Malcolm Pryce writes beautifully, with added warmth and humanity, explaining in the language of a period often characterized by propaganda.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Malcolm Pryce

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