Image result for the original inspector george gently collection

Published by Constable.

Susan was a pretty, pert blonde girl with a tilted bra and an accentuated behind. She wore a smile as a natural part of her equipment. She had a snub nose and dimples and a pleased expression, and had a general super-charged look, as though she was liable to burst out of her black dress and stockings into a fierce nudity.

Related imageBetween 1977 and 1983 LWT/ITV aired The Professionals. One of the main characters was played by Martin Shaw.  Since then he has ‘gone one’ as they say, to play characters in quite a range of genres: most recently John Deed and of course the TV production of the Inspector Gently series. I have always enjoyed his work – ever since sitting with my peers at school, waiting for The Professionals to start. Though then, I suppose, it wasn’t his acting ability that I was admiring…

Recently I have been watching the odd Inspector Gently programmes – and suddenly noticed that they were based on books by Alan Hunter. So – I bought this, which contains the first two books. I am half way through the first volume – Gently Does It and am loving Alan Hunter’s use of English, his ability to observe and relate small details to the reader.

There is a gentle reminder at the start of the book from the author.

This is a detective story, but NOT a ‘whodunit’. Its aim is to give a picture of a police investigator slowly building up his knowledge of a crime to a point, not where he knows who did it – both you and me know that at a fairly early stage – but to a point where he can bring a charge which will convince a jury. I thought it worthwhile mentioning this. I hate being criticised for not doing what I had no intention of doing. Sincerely yours, Alan Hunter.

He need not have worried. The story is superbly crafted with generous gorgeous clear and detailed language – and I am enjoying it as much for that, as the character of Inspector Gently and I can highly recommend them. He often gives things a life to which they could never aspire. Its a pleasure to read and I suspect I will be looking for the other books in the series.

Sadly Alan Hunter (1922 – 2005) is deceased. I would so much have enjoyed telling him how much I am enjoying his writing. He sounds as though he was a gentleman, of the old school.

Image result for inspector george gently martin shawFantastic Fiction lists an astonishing 46 titles (certainly enough for me), but the list within this first compilation volume details just the first 26 – and there are one or two discrepancies with the titles….I will be investigating. Those discrepancies, however, only occur around volume 24…so there’s no urgency.

Pleasingly, I find that Martin Shaw & the adaption of the books seem to have been able to reflect the original stories, the essence of the books. Its quite remarkable.

They are pure pleasure.

Onward puffed the little tub, bold as a fox-terrier, full of aggression and self-assurance, and onward crept the barges, phlegmatic, slow, till the cavalcade was in hailing distance of Railway Bridge. then the little tug slowed down, trod water as it were, allowing the foremost barges to catch up with it.