City of the Dead, By Sara Gran

A damp squib down on the bayou

Brandon Robshaw
Sunday 15 January 2012 01:00

I like detective stories, and I like weird. So I thought I would like this weird detective story – and until about its halfway point, I did.

Private eye Claire DeWitt is called into post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans to solve the case of a missing attorney, and gets down and dirty with the city's poor, black youth to find answers.

Her methods are unusual, including consulting the I Ching, analysing her dreams and reading the book Detection by her hero, Jacques Sillette, who writes gnomic nonsense such as: "The clue that can be named is not the eternal clue." All of which was fun at first, but the portentous tone palled on me and I began to want DeWitt's investigation to fail. It isn't my cup of tea, but it might be yours.

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