Thursday, 23 January 2020

Duffy - Dan Kavanagh

Duffy is the first of four detective novels written in the early Eighties by Julian Barnes under the Kavanagh pseudonym. You soon realise why the literary Barnes went pseudonymous. Duffy is a bisexual ex-copper, dismissed over allegations of paedophilia, and his manor, then and now, is Soho, which in 1980 was still the only reliable source of prostitutes, dirty films, mucky mags and live sex shows for London visitors.

Duffy has set up his own security advice business. He gets a call from a bloke called McKechnie, who imports jokes and novelties. McKechnie is being extorted over an affair with his secretary. Duffy investigates - and finds himself embroiled in a gangland power-grab which ends up with him in a very delicate situation with a cheese-cutter.

The novel is smart, funny and brilliantly written - a microcosm of its time and place.

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