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Gently Sahib
The Inspector George Gently Case Files, Book XII
Alan Hunter

Robinson (Constable and Robinson)
19 April 2012/ ISBN 9781780331546
Contemporary Mystery / 1964 / Norfolk, England

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

When a tiger escapes from an exotic animal dealer’s premises it causes havoc in the sleepy little town of Abbotsham. A police marksman shoots it after a dramatic chase, and that appears to be all. But a year later the tiger’s victim is discovered, buried in his own back garden. But tiger’s don’t usually neatly bury their prey and so George Gently is sent to investigate.

Every one of these books is memorable for something, and here it is Mr Hunter’s masterly descriptions of the respectable market town of Abbotsham. He describes how, seething under the surface is a veritable morass of human frailty and evil and how Gently unearths it all. Modern readers will wonder at the casual treatment of dangerous animals back in the 60s while they enjoy the understated but evocative depiction of life in a small town fifty years ago. Gently and his methods are contrasted well with those of the local constabulary, and although it is not difficult to guess whodunit there are surprises in store as well. Anybody who thinks this series is set in Newcastle in the later years of the Swinging Sixties (and all that implies) would do well to seek out the books. They are very different and miles better, filled with far more than their modest size would suggest. A treat to savor.

Other reviews in this series

Gently Does It - Book I
Gently by the ShoreBook II
Gently Down The Stream Book III
Landed Gently Book IV
Gently Through the Mill - Book V
Gently In The SunBook VI
Gently With The Painters Book VII
Gently To The Summit Book VIII
Gently Go Man - Book IX
Gently Where The Roads Go – Book X
Gently Floating - Book XI
Gently Sahib - Book XII
Gently With The Ladies - Book XIII
Gently Northwest - Book XV
Gently Continental - Book XVI
Gently With The Innocents - Book XVII

Reviewed 2012