Gumshoe, by Neville Smith (SD Press, £6.99 in UK)


More a novella than a fully fledged novel, Gumshoe was originally published in 1971, its origin a screenplay for a film starring Albert Finney and directed by Stephen Frears. I remember seeing it at the time and thinking it didn't make a lot of sense, and now, having read the book, I still don't think it makes a lot of sense.

Set roughly in the Fifties, it features a Liverpool bingo caller Eddie Ginley, whose ambitions in life are to become a private eye in the Sam Spade mode and record Blue Suede Shoes. He does begin investigating the death of a student, gets involved with some shady characters, and ends up being chased around London. A slight effort, really, whose value lies more in recording the time - the Fifties - with all its mannerisms, than in being a classic of private eye fiction.