A first publication for author Glyn Timmins, ‘From the Diary…’ is a collection of five short stories about a retired cop-turned-antiques dealer and his attempts to forge a new career but not quite being able to leave the
old one behind.
Our protagonist, Gary Farrow, is an incredibly likeable character, full of dry witticisms and interesting insights which make his discoveries and capabilities plausible and engaging to follow. Likewise, the reluctance and yet near-rubbernecking compliance of his friend and mentor, Mark Foster-Blythe, is incredibly entertaining, playing the role of sidekick well in order to add a unique twist on a budding bromance.
The stories are interwoven with emotional depth, tangible crimes and burgeoning descriptions which bring an element ofsophistication and intelligence to the situations Farrow finds himself in. My particular favourite was The Coffee Shop Conundrum, which was an ideal blend of witticism between the two friends and emotional depth to make you engaged with the characters’ situation.
The beauty of this collection is that it represents an antidote to modern crime fiction which feels the needs to lead you a merry dance before a (sometimes disappointing) conclusion, often without the degree of tangibility that Timmins provides through his former career as (surprise!) a police officer himself. These are light-hearted, enjoyable and cleverly-crafted stories, and show a level of success not often seen in first books. Bring on the next Farrow outings!