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The Once and Future Con
By Peter Guttridge

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The Once and Future Con

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The Once and Future Con
By Peter Guttridge
Read How You Want, (2010)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Verdana Font
(Originally Published in Standard Print by Speck Press)
ISBN: 978-1-45874-823-2
Genre: Crime Fiction


Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - May 4, 2010

The Once and Future Con is a unique and somewhat eclectic crime novel from the pen of Peter Guttridge. The story revolves around the discovery of King Arthur's (of Camelot fame) grave. This discovery brings out a horde of greedy marketeers bent upon exploiting the discovery of the graves of King Arthur and the tarnished Queen, Guinevere. Into the fray is added a smattering of irate archeologists who cannot agree on anything, two erstwhile heroes in the forms of Nick Madrid and Bridget Frost, as well as a host of other characters who are drawn to the West Country countryside by the lure of Camelot. Worse, the discovery of the grave also has drawn a serial killer to the area. As events unfold, it appears that one or more inhabitants of the original Camelot may have made the journey from the past to the less than chivalrous present day.

This is a fun story filled with hucksters, Camelot afficionados, and a delightful circus atmosphere as everyone tries to make a buck out of the discovery of Arthur's grave - even before the authenticity of the grave is determined. To that end, there is a rapid rise in the number of Avalon themed theme parks, Camelot decorated casinos, knightly feasting halls featuring the every popular Excaliburger, and other such nonsense. However, beneath all the hoopla, Nick Madrid, a journalist, and his companion, the micro-skirt wearing Bridget Frost, discover a nasty underside to all the pageantry. An underside coated with blood and built upon a variety of murders - both ancient and modern.

Written with wit and acumen, The Once and Future Con is a serious crime novel interwoven with equal doses of humor and historical fiction. As the story unfolds, Nick and Bridget find themselves taking the lead in tracking down the serial killer and a mysterious man on a white horse who keeps appearing and then disappearing. I don't want to say too much about this book because it would be far too easy to give the story away. Let it suffice to say that this is one of the most unique mysteries that I've read in some time, and if you like odd bits of Camelot related trivia scattered through your stories, quirky happenings, and a writer who likes to poke fun at the heritage industry while also providing you with a solid mystery filled with unexpected twists and turns - this is the book for you.

The Once and Future Con is the fourth novel in Guttridge's Nick Madrid mystery series, but this book serves well as a stand-alone book so you do not have to have read the previous books in the series before tackling this volume. I should also mention that like many modern writers, Guttridge does use some 'curse' words in this book, but he doesn't over do it.

The Once and Future Con is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.


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