Gilbert Adair found his true calling with his trilogy of Agatha Christie knock-offs involving the lesbian novelist Evadne Mount. They are, in varying degrees, pastiche, tribute and form-fiddling self-indulgence.
Our Sapphic sleuth's swansong is so postmodern that she harangues Adair himself while the action careens around a Sherlock Holmes festival staged at the Reichenbach Falls. Adair jumps forward to 2011 from the 1930s setting of the previous outing, A Mysterious Affair of Style, and in the first of many detours from reality, allows no one the indignity of ageing.
Just how much you enjoy this book depends on your capacity for ingesting the riffs of an inveterate clever-clog as he nods and winks his way through a catalogue of movie and literary references. Adair is a writer who has always worn his intellectualism heavily. Yet the Mount escapades make for guilty pleasure, told with the gusto of a great uncle who realises he's pushed a yarn to the point of incredulity, then tips back the brandy and continues.