Review: The Old Man in the Corner

It’s not often that I feel I’ve discovered a book that no one talks about, but should. But I think this is one of those times.The Old Man in the Corner was such an enjoyable read that I am shocked that I’ve never heard it mentioned. I happened across it in a bookstore this summer, looked it up on my Kindle, saw that it was free, and downloaded it just because I liked the title. Well . . . I am extremely glad that I did.

The Old Man in the Corner reads like a Sherlock Holmes volume, a collection of crime stories. However, each is told by . . . if you haven’t guessed it, the old man in the corner of a little coffee shop. He has a selected audience in Polly, a young girl who writes for a local English newspaper. It becomes their habit to sit opposite each other in the aforesaid coffee shop (ABC shop as it is called in the book.) and discuss . . . well, that isn’t the exact right word, because the discussion is overwhelmingly one-sided. But, the old man dictates the details of an unsolved, or incorrectly solved crime and then proceeds to explain all of the details of the crime and name the culprit.

Polly is mesmerized by this creature of habit who sits in the same coffee shop waiting for her to show up on a regular basis, ordering the same meal, presenting his pictures each time, and constantly . . . constantly tying knots in a string.

This story will captivate you as you feel that each time you pick up the book, you yourself are going to meet with the old man and listen to his raspy voice lay out all of the points which the ever ignorant police force is unable to see. The criminal stories are well written and intelligent.

I must warn you though . . . there is a surprise ending that will make you . . . nevermind. I can’t decide how to say it without ruining the story. Enjoy!

{read summer 2011}

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