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The False Inspector Dew [Paperback]

3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Would Dew believe it Dec 21 2005
By Reader
Format:Paperback
I agree with much that's been said here by other readers. I enjoyed this book right up until the moment I'd finished it. And then - SPOILER ALERT! ONLY READ ON IF OR AFTER YOU'VE FINISHED THE BOOK YOURSELF - I started questioning the plot's logic.
Here goes. So Lydia, the wife who we are led to believe was murdered by her husband Walter, actually left the Mauretania - the ship where much of the novel's action takes place - on the pilot boat. In which case, Walter didn't murder anyone. So why did he pretend to his mistress Alma that he had, that the body was in the trunk, and that he put it through the porthole as planned? If Lydia were still on board, which he would have to assume was the case, she would have seen him at some later stage in the voyage, so he could hardly have afforded not to tell Alma that the planned murder had not yet taken place.

Furthermore - I suppose you could say that Lydia had no option but to leave all her expensive dresses behind on the ship because she couldn't carry them on the pilot boat - but you'd think she would have packed them, or at least told the crew to look after them. What possible reason did she have, for that matter, for failing to tell the ship she was getting off? And why in tarnation did she leave her make-up in the cabin - which she clearly did, because Alma puts it on? Moreover, since Walter's plan was to gain admission to Lydia's cabin by knocking on the door, certain that she'd let him in to find out what he was doing there, how did he get in when she'd already left the ship?
 
And if the character Johnny was so infatuated with Lydia after seeing her on the stage, how could he possibly have thought that Alma was her, since there is no suggestion that the two were a close match in appearance?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Starring Peter Sellers as Walter May 4 2004
Format:Paperback
Lovesey often gives the sense his tongue is firmly in his cheek. The False Inspector Dew reads as though it were written in the 40s: the characters are drawn as wry twists on old cliches, sailing along (literally) in their frothy, and quietly funny, quest for love and bungled adventure. The False Inspector is not what he seems (like many of the characters). Like Chance in Being There, Walter is imbued by everyone else with characteristics he just doesn't have. Lovesey pokes fun at romance (particularly with the wistful and foolish heroine), detection (the ship's officer whom the false inspector displaces is equally as bad a dectective as our hero) and finally with plot, which he twists to suit his neat but far fetched needs. The cast springs from the Victorian parlors: the shipboard Johnny, the nearly harumphing captain, the well heeled family trying to marry off their daughter, the light fingered and lovely shill, and the aw-darn, I-really-liked-him murderer. This is not a slap your knee comedy, but your leg is consistently pulled in a dry English humor sort of way. There seems to be a real, honest to God, genuine mistake in the book, where one character refers to a character by the true name which hasn't yet been revealed. I re-read that part, thinking that Lovesey was having another go at my leg, but no, I think it really slipped through. This is a book best read where you can sit smiling to yourself without anyone asking you what the joke is. I had the sense that Lovesey has read all the old detective novels, and seen all the black and white movies and is having his way with them and us.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a fun romp April 8 2003
By A. Lord
Format:Paperback
The False Inspector Dew is a fun quick read. The characters are wonderfully drawn and while it is true that the plot is not quite as intricate or complex as some reviewers claim, Lovesy tells an interesting story-one you will be able to devour easily in one or two sittings.
The False Inspector Dew focuses on a series of characters-Alma who has fallen madly in love with her dentist and who has persuaded him to kill his rapacious wife; the dentist, Walter Baranov, who is swept up by Alma's passion and agrees to kill his wife at Alma's behest; Jack Gordon, a card shark who has located his mark and intends to fleece him on a boat trip across the Atlantic; Barbara, a wealthy girl whose mother is scheming to marry her off; and a millionaire's son who is conveniently both single and interested in cards. All of these characters come together when they decide to cross the Atlantic on the Mauritania in 1921. When a murder occurs, Walter Baranov (who is traveling under a false name so that he can more easily kill his own wife) is called upon to solve the murder. In the character of Inspector Dew (the man who arrested Dr. Crippen), Baranov acts out the fantasy of every murder mystery lover-he becomes a detective and sets out to solve a real crime.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sails along and then sinks Aug. 14 2003
Format:Paperback
I have read my fellow reviewers' comments and wonder that no one mentions the peculiar and vague ending. Set aboard a trans-Atlantic liner in the late '20s, the mystery is all snappy sailing -- full of fun characters and deft twists. And just when you know that you will get the answer to whodunnit you are left floundering and asking a dozen questions about why the plot took such an unlikely turn. I am not alone in this; a friend who read the book as well asked me to explain the uncertain ending. An amusing read if you don't mind the lack of a finale.
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