Never Pick up Hitch-hikers! by Ellis Peters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this again to counteract the rather disappointing The Giver Quartet, since Never Pick up Hitch-hikers! is one of my favourite novels, and realised I never wrote a review about it.
Never Pick up Hitch-hikers! is a "classic whodunnit", like the cover says. It follows 20-year old Willie Banks, who is trying to move out from under the protective wings of his mother - and accidentally ends up in the middle of a plot to fake a bank robber's death and recover the loot. Worst of all, it's Willie who was selected as the stand-in to die, but with luck and a girl he met on his way, he gets away in time. Since someone else was there to burn in the flat of the bank robber, it takes the bad guys some time to realise that Willie is still around - and meddling, taking the attempt on his life quite personal. Together with a London mob and police involvement, things are getting a little bit complicated as the treasure hunt is on...
Personally, I love Willie. He's clever, fun, and self-reliant, which is surprising considering he just left home for the first time on his own.
I'm also a huge fan of Ellis Peters' writing style, the way she describes people, places, happenings... I have many of her books (excluding Brother Cadfael, which I never looked into), but this one - my first - is still by far my favourite. Willie and Calli, they way they interact and work as a team, the ease they both show when pretending to be innocents and when dealing with people in general... It's very enjoyable to read. In fact, it's such a joy (for me), that this time was the first occasion on which I noticed a - rather glaring - inconsistency in the plot: Willie has to hide from one of the mobsters, since he has seen him before and could get suspicious. This can't be true, since at the only occasion when the mobster could have seen Willie in connection with the case, Willie was hiding and couldn't be seen. His having to hide is an important part of the plot at that point, but, actually, it's quite unnecessary.
I still love the book, though. ;-)
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