Some may say Only the Lonely by Tamara von Werthern doesn’t fit the crime fiction mold. That’s okay, since it’s sort of the point. Tamara shows quick wit and humor in this wickedly funny, wildly imaginative thriller that is as gripping as it is entertaining.
Only the Lonely Synopsis
An Accidental Detective Mystery #1
Tamara von Werthern is a British-German writer, primarily for stage and screen. In her debut novel, originally published in German in 2017, she places her eccentric real-life father in the middle of a spoof crime novel and creates a lovable hapless detective figure with a canine sidekick, Maschka.
Tamara von Werthern | Pub Date 2022 (EN) | ISBN 9780955951145
Some may say Only the Lonely by Tamara von Werthern doesn’t fit the crime fiction mold. That’s okay, since it’s sort of the point. The publisher’s description bills the book as “a spoof crime novel” but I think it fits the criteria of a cozy mystery just as well. So, take your pick. What I know for sure after reading this book is Tamara von Werthern has to be one of the most underrated and hilarious crime writers around. Only the Lonely is a wickedly funny, wildly imaginative thriller that is also as gripping as it is entertaining. And I’m not saying nice things about her or the book only because she followed me back on Twitter. You know how when a friend tells you they just read a book that’s absolutely dazzling and divine, and you simply must read it? Then you do, but it doesn’t live up to the hype. Well, this isn’t that book. Tamara von Werthern shakes up all the PI clichés and tropes with sharp wit and plenty of pathos while spinning a pretty good mystery that has moments of heart-pounding suspense. This is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in recent memory, and I can’t hype it enough.
The book opens with a gloomy and cryptic prologue where an unidentified narrator bemoans their unimportance and how they’re waiting their turn to seize the happiness that comes so easily to others. Then we meet our protagonist, Philipp von Werthern, a private investigator. Well, strictly speaking, Philipp is no private eye. He owns a moving company and sells insurance on the side. But he once helped a friend named Laura recover a piece of stolen jewelry. Laura, prone to exaggeration, refers her friend, Annelie Janssen, who needs a private investigator’s service, to Philipp, giving him rave reviews. Janssen, a blonde bombshell who looks Scandinavian to Philipp, arrives at his home with her tale of woe. Philipp, immediately smitten, decides not to tell her he isn’t actually a private investigator and asks her the nature of her problem. Janssen reveals someone with obvious skill has surgically amputated one of her cat’s paws, but the local police not only refused to investigate but laughed at her when she went to them for help. Hoping to spark a romance with Janssen, Philipp agrees to take the case. He accompanies her to her home and inspects the cat’s amputated paw, and agrees someone severed it with great skill. And during the visit, he grows even more enamored with Janssen and believes she feels the same about him. Bereft of any investigative skills beyond what he has picked up from reading detective novels, Philipp bumbles through interviews with a neighbor and Janssen’s housekeeper, but makes no progress in solving the mystery of the severed cat paw. Then, a genuine mystery with real stakes confronts Philipp when Annelie disappears without a trace. A panicked Philipp desperately searches for her with no one to help but his trusty sidekick, Maschka, his golden retriever.
The quick wit and humor Tamara von Werthern weaves into her entertaining tale grabbed me from the start and had me not only in stitches but turning the pages to learn what happened next. You might think comedy and crime thrillers don’t mix, but you’ll think differently after reading just a few pages of this book.
Book rating: ★★★★
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