The investigative nature of the story tended to be repetitive, yet this was offset by a saturation of satire. The humorous dialogue and tabloid sensationalism of Barney’s many outlandishly accused crimes provides a nice form of escape from the monstrosity at the monastery Barney finds himself hiding.
Living under the persona of Brother Jacob, Barney adapts to life as a monk, cut off from real world problems yet finding himself embroiled in a much sinister turn of events. A monk seeking vengeance for his father’s treatment by his fellow brothers many years ago makes the halls of the monetary run red with the blood of brothers. Naturally, Barney is once again the unfortunate suspect by virtue of his poor timing and bad luck.
Mulholland and Proudfoot, on the trail to track down the Glasgow Ripper (aka Barney Thomson), bounce from one B&B to another, shining a light on civilian incompetency and their ilk’s inadequate policing until they luck out and land knee deep in the thick of a multiple homicide at the secluded monastery. Douglas Lindsay does a good job at building chemistry between the attractive and available Proudfoot and the man with a marriage on the rocks, in Mulholland – I hope Lindsay revisits these two characters again after putting so much effort into establishing them.
As with any Barney Thomson story there is a fair degree of tongue in cheek storytelling. The emphasis on soap opera tv and entertainment journalism taken to the extreme (i.e. made-up) crosses the border to the outlandish. While Barney himself is the unassuming fool, a simple yet wholehearted fellow who just wants to cut hair.
I enjoyed THE BARBER SURGEON’S HAIRSHIRT and look forward to reading MURDERERS ANONYMOUS.