Reading The Third Pig Detective Agency by Bob Burke was a complete change of genre for me. It’s funny, a bit silly, a pastiche of American gumshoe crime fiction, and a fantasy – indeed it’s a fairytale detective story. I did enjoy recognising all the fairy tale characters Bob Burke throws into the mix.
The Third Pig is Harry Pigg, who in his own words:
was the pig that built the house out of bricks while my idiot brothers took the easy route and went for cowboy builders and cheap materials.
Following his success at defeating the Big Bad Wolf, Harry became a detective, finding the two missing kids Hansel and Gretel and then identifying them as the murderers of the little old lady who lived in the gingerbread house.
But work for Harry had almost dried up, so when ‘an oriental gentleman the size and shape of a zeppelin‘, or in other words, Aladdin, the richest man in Grimmtown, accompanied by a sturdy white goat, none other than the eldest of the Gruff Brothers, demands his services, Harry can’t turn him down. Aladdin’s lamp had been stolen, an old battered lamp that he had kept under close guard, protected by hi-tech security and surveillance systems and Harry has to get it back for him. And so Harry sets out in pursuit of the lamp, aided or hindered by numerous characters, finding himself in all sorts of tricky and dangerous situations.
It’s a case of spot the characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes and it’s most entertaining. Boy Blue, that lazy former shepherd tells Harry the lamp is rumoured to be a magic lamp, but Harry hates magic:
As a working detective it’s bad enough running the risk of being beaten up or thrown into a river with concrete boots on, without having to live with the possibility of being changed into a dung beetle or having a plague of boils inflicted on you. If you think humans were disgusting covered in boils, imagine how I might look.
And Harry just couldn’t have survived without the help of his Apprentice Gumshoe, Jack Horner, who rescues him several times.
There is no doubt that I’ll be reading more of Bob Burke’s books. the next one is The Ho Ho Ho Mystery which starts where The Third Pig Detective Agency ended when a very large lady dressed in black boots, bright red trousers and a hooded jacket came to see Harry and announced:
I need you to find my husband. He’s been kidnapped and it’s only two days to 25th December. If he’s not found soon we may have to cancel Christmas.
Carl’s Once Upon a Time VII challenge is coming to an end soon (21 June) and this is the fourth book I’ve finished. I may make five (my target for the challenge).