The Bingo Hall Detectives | Jonathan Whitelaw

As soon as I’d read the first page of Jonathan Whitelaw’s The Bingo Hall Detectives I knew I was in for a treat.

It’s funny, frequently tongue-in-cheek and an example of highly entertaining cosy crime at its best. I thought it was enormous fun.

The plot romps along as hapless, out-of-work journalist Jason is bullied and manipulated by his mother-in-law Amita.

His dishevelled inability to look for a new job, his constant verbal sparring with Amita and his talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong moment make Jason an engaging, if unusual, hero.

He’s capable of inspiring empathy and sympathy, frustration and irritation in the reader and yet making them champion him throughout.

We all need an Amita in our lives…

The Lake District setting is really well depicted so that it acts as a clear backdrop to the story. Jonathan Whitelaw gives evocative descriptions of both natural beauty and urban squalor. It felt very realistic to have quite a lot of rain in the story!

Amita is a fantastic character. She’s bossy, nosy, domineering and an absolute star with a heart of gold. We all need an Amita in our lives but I suspect we’d be terrified of her if we did.

Through Amita Jonathan Whitelaw presents the view that life isn’t over for those more mature people in society and that they have much to offer – even if not all of them might be investigating potential murders!

Real emotion and considerable humanity

While The Bingo Hall Detectives avoids the gruesome and the explicit violence of many crime novels and is a lighthearted read, that doesn’t mean it lacks depth and insight.

Through his story the author considers appearance and how much we really know about what others have experienced.

He makes the reader aware of the importance of friends, family and belonging and he shows how truth isn’t always easy to uncover.

He looks too at the price of fame, of mental health and of how we are affected by our past lives. At times there’s real emotion and considerable humanity to be found in this diverting narrative.

A bundle of fun to be had

The Bingo Hall Detectives has everything a reader wants in a cosy crime.

There are larger than life characters, a cracking, fast-paced plot and a huge bundle of fun to be had. I loved everything about it, from the bingo-related chapter titles right through to its satisfying conclusion. I can’t wait for the next book from Jonathan Whitelaw.

The Bingo Hall Detectives by Jonathan Whitelaw is published by HarperNorth, £2.99 EB.

Pick up this week’s My Weekly to enjoy an entertaining short story by Jonathan Whitelaw, The Sheriff Of Penrith. Plus lots more feelgood reading. In newsagents and supermarkets.