The Manual of Detection

The Manual of Detection

Book - 2009
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In this tightly plotted yet mind- expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people’s dreams In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin toils as a clerk at a huge, imperious detective agency. All he knows about solving mysteries comes from the reports he’s filed for the illustrious detective Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach. His only guidance comes from his new assistant, who would be perfect if she weren’t so sleepy, and from the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection(think The Art of Waras told to Damon Runyon). Unwin mounts his search for Sivart, but is soon framed for murder, pursued by goons and gunmen, and confounded by the infamous femme fatale Cleo Greenwood. Meanwhile, strange and troubling questions proliferate: why does the mummy at the Municipal Museum have modern- day dental work? Where have all the city’s alarm clocks gone? Why is Unwin’s copy of the manual missing Chapter 18? When he discovers that Sivart’s greatest cases— including the Three Deaths of Colonel Baker and the Man Who Stole November 12th—were solved incorrectly, Unwin must enter the dreams of a murdered man and face a criminal mastermind bent on total control of a slumbering city. The Manual of Detectionwill draw comparison to every work of imaginative fiction that ever blew a reader’s mind—from Carlos Ruiz Zafón to Jorge Luis Borges, from The Big Sleepto The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. But, ultimately, it defies comparison; it is a brilliantly conceived, meticulously realized novel that will change what you think about how you think.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2009.
ISBN: 9781594202117
Branch Call Number: M BERRY J
Characteristics: 278 pages ; 24 cm.


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May 19, 2018

A work of fantasy, a combination of private eye, steam punk, magical realism, noir, dystopia, and a bit of the absurd. Very well written; the prose is crisp and interesting. A fine job. Recommended.

JCLGreggW Jun 13, 2013

One of those books that mashes together several types of genres yet feels wholly fresh and original, Berry's MANUAL OF DETECTION is a delight. In a dark, dreamlike world, Charles Unwin is a personal secretary of sorts, filing away cases solved by the world's greatest detective. One day, the detective goes missing, and a hapless Unwin has to fill in, drawn into mysteries he thought were solved but must be looked at, and unraveled again. Offbeat, but wonderfully written, and filled with twists and turns. This is a great readalike for fans of Neil Gaiman and Jorge Luis Borges.

JCLJaredH Mar 22, 2013

I truly enjoyed this book. It is an engaging noir tale with a fantasy twist. It is a feel of "Dark City" within a cityscape from "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" with a little "Inception" thrown in as well. Charles Unwin is a likeable underdog who is doing the best he can to stay afloat in whirlpool of a situation. Sadly, this is the only novel written by this author, though he has completed several short stories. Recommended to those who like a little something more to their mysteries.

May 01, 2010

A stylish and thought-provoking book, with an unlikely hero.


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