“‘Great atmosphere. Shame about the weather.’
‘More lies than a Tribunal of Inquiry.’
A High Court Judge
‘A great exposé of Irish men and women.’
Stoirmí Ní Dhomhnaill
A hardboiled detective novel set in contemporary Ireland, a gripping journey taking the reader from Dublin to, in no particular order, Belfast, Kilkenny, County Meath, Cork, Galway, Derry and all other places in between.
Carrying a box containing her husband’s severed hand , a traveller woman implores private eye Shamus to find her beloved – or what's left of him. For no sooner does Shamus take the case than, north of the border, he comes across another box – and another hand. A pair of legs then turns up. Followed by a head.
What's the connection between the hand in the South and the hand in the North? And who's missing all these body parts?
This book has it all: detectives who couldn't be arsed, Gardaí who could, for the right price (maybe), the Russian mafia, hurlers on the ditch, barmaids wise beyond their years, a labyrinthine plot – a wry affectionate view of twenty-first-century Ireland beyond the Pale. Truly a fitting Gaelic homage to the works of Hammett and Chandler.
Price: €12.00 Price Now: €9.60
Sliocht as alt le Brian Ó Conchubhair, Comhar, Nollaig 2018:
Leabhar a mbeifear ag trácht air go ceann i bhfad é 'Lámh, Lámh Eile', úrscéal nua Alan Titley. Tá seal ó thug Titley faoi úrscéal comhaimseartha ach seo é agus is tour de force é den tsainstíl Titlíoch.
Alan Titley is one of the most prolific writers in Ireland with an impressive output in both English and Irish: a column in 'The Irish Times; volumes of criticism and literary journalism; academic monographs; plays for radio and stage; a poetry collection; short-form fiction, novels and a novel in verse. some of his work is erious in its intent and challenging in linguistic richness and style, but he can also write in a humorous way that few other writers can manage. If you have enjoyed Titley's madcap writings, surreal plots and ludic wordplay, then 'Lámh, Lámh Eile' will have you stitches.
The main character is a private detective, retired from the Gardaí. A client arrives with a box containing her husband's severed hand and wants the detective to find him. His investigation leads him to discover another hand, a couple of legs and a head - none of them belonging to the owner of the first hand. As our sleuth chases clues around Ireland, it gives Titley an opportunity to deliver digs at many places and people, to create larger-and-life characters and caricatures, and cast a jaundiced eye on Irish society.
The cover, the narrative style and the plot frame the story within the crime genre popularised by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. This Shamus, however, is a comic Irish Sam Spade, who gets in as many digs, puns and literary references as he can. There is a hardly a sentence that doesn't prompt a smile, a laugh or a wince. I met one reader who told me his family were worried as he roared with laughter in his armchair, but another person was put off by the deliberate political incorrectness.
For me, some of the punning, surreal, comic writing is very, very funny, while carrying enough literary allusions to make me feel clever when I pick up on them. But, with a wisecrack on almost every line, a reader may not always want Sam to wordplay it again. My daughter tells me that my own puns are best served in small doses. Happily, most readers are unlikely to read 'Lámh, Lámh eile' in one sitting and won't get too punchline drunk. If anyone is under the illusion that contemporary writing in Irish lacks a sense of fun since Myles na gCopaleen, Titley's novel proves them wrong. It might point new fans to his 'Eireachtai agus Scéalta Eile' or 'Leabhar Nóra Ní Anluain' or to that other comic crime odyssey that riffs on the 'Da Vinci Code', 'Rún an Bhonnáin' by Proinsias Mac an Bhaird.