Money in the bank and his dream girl on his arm – life was looking pretty sweet for Kirby Baxter.
Of course it couldn’t last. Where would the fun be in that? This is a sequel after all.
After solving the murder of a movie starlet the previous year, Kirby is doing his best to live down his burgeoning reputation as part-time Interpol agent and amateur sleuth.
Then reality TV comes knocking next door.
Million Dollar Madhouse is a reality TV show where a bunch of washed up celebrities are thrown together in a dilapidated mansion while their attempts to renovate the building are broadcast 24/7 for the viewers delight.
Kirby’s quiet town is thrown into chaos by the arrival of camera crews, remote control video drones and a cast of characters including disgraced actress Victoria Gorham, political shock-jock Bert Wayne and reality TV royalty Kassandra Kassabian.
When one of the cast members turns up dead the local police turn to the only celebrity detective in town for help and draft an unwilling Kirby into their investigation.
The first body is only the beginning of another rip-roaring adventure for Kirby Baxter and with Gustav his loyal driver/valet/bodyguard/gardener/chef/ass-kicker at his side, our hero plunges into the fray with his usual stunning displays of deductive reasoning and sheer bloody luck.
Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove! Today I have for you a review of Video Killed the Radio Star by Duncan MacMaster.
Kirby Baxter is a graphic artist, a millionaire and an amateur sleuth who is so good at solving crimes that he has special status with Interpol. After the adventure he had at Omnicon in A Mint Condition Corpse, Kirby is hoping to get back to his drawing board, spend some of his money, spend some time with his new girlfriend, in short: enjoy life and have some peace and quiet. Naturally, said peace and quiet last for about two seconds…
In Video Killed the Radio Star Kirby plays a home game: the setting is the mansion that he inherited from his magician uncle, and the sleepy little town where it sits. Just around the corner from Kirby’s lair, a reality TV-show is in the making, and before long there’s a dead body. An accident or malicious intent? Who’s to say? Kirby apparently! Not that he’s very keen to, but that special Interpol status does come with some strings.
This second instalment can be read as a standalone, there are references to Kirby’s past but no spoilers, and you’ll be able to follow perfectly fine without having read the first instalment. The finer details of Kirby’s past remain a mystery, even for those who have read the first book (really, I’m dying to know what the hell happened to Kirby before A Mint Condition Corpse). Besides Kirby, Gustav and Molly are back too. I loved Molly in the first book and I loved her in this one. She’s delightfully sarcastic, she’s tiny in stature but she has a mouth on her that makes more than up for that. Gustav is Kirby’s chauffeur, bodyguard, mechanic, you name it and Gustav will do it. Can’t count on him for the wickedly clever repartee though, he’s still the strong silent type. I did miss one character from the first book: Mitch, Kirby’s best friend. In A Mint-Conditioned Corpse they have this male BFF thing going, with the witty repartee, the benevolent insults, etc. and he brings out a quirkiness in Kirby that I really enjoyed in A Mint Condition Corpse and kind of missed in Video Killed the Radio Star, which features a more serious Kirby, and focusses more on the mystery at hand. I feel that A Mint Condition Corpse is more about the characters, the fun, the quirkiness against the backdrop of the murder investigation and Video Killed the Radio Star focusses more on the mystery, letting the quirkiness, characterisation and tongue-in-cheek humour take more of a backseat, it’s all still there, just a little less obviously so.
This time I didn’t see it coming, I had no idea who the culprit was, or rather I’d had many ideas that I had to discard one by one. The final denouement is one Hercule Poirot would be mighty pleased with, and so was I.
A humorous mystery, recommended!
Get Video Killed the Radio Star directly from Fahrenheit Press here. If you buy the paperback, they’ll offer you the eBook for free and they have other great things going on this month as well: get #BeachBookReady by buying 2 paperbacks and getting 1 for free by using the code BUY2BOOKS at the check-out and/or buy any eBook for only 85p (no code, the discount is applied automatically)! (I know what you’re thinking: they crazy! And you’re right ?) So no excuses, go forth and buy books!