The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir by Ken Harmon

Filed under:Humor,Mystery — posted by Randolph on December 10, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir by Ken Harmon

This is humor at the expense of everything North Pole. It is a very light murder mystery in the noir style, with some rerences to Dashiel Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Almost every other sentence has some reference to a Christmas song, story, or legend. And the puns and jokes are numerous. The author makes frequent allusions to familiar, and not-so familiar books and movies. These aren’t the kind of symbols that get lost in the reading, these are the kind that pick you up like a rosy-cheeked rag doll and throw you in the road to get run over by a reindeer. That’s what these words do. Over and over.

We follow the exploits of Gumdrop Cole. Although not famous by name, he is responsible for starting the Coal Patrol. Those are the elves responsible for identifying bad children and giving them lumps of coal for Christmas. But things are changing, now he is out of a job. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and one of his ‘clients’ ends up being shot in the eye by a Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred Shot Range Model BB Gun with a compass in its stock. Gumdrop was framed. Clues point to Ralphie, and lead his investigations to the Misfit Toy Mafia, and his nemesis, Charles “Candy” Cane.

The book is a fun and quick read. The bad jokes almost get tiring by the time the book runs out, so the length is good. Sit back, take a weekend and read a little humor into your Christmas.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace