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Psycho by the Sea: A Constable Twitten Mystery    by Lynne Truss order for
Psycho by the Sea
by Lynne Truss
Order:  USA  Can
Bloomsbury, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lynne Truss's Psycho by the Sea, subtitled 'The new murder mystery in the prize-winning Constable Twitten series', is a funny, quirky anglophile mystery, set in 1957 Brighton. Previous episodes were A Shot in the Dark, Murder by Milk Bottle, and The Man That Got Away.

The police force is inept, aside from its most junior member, young Constable Twitten, dubbed Clever Clogs by Inspector Steine and Sergeant Brunswick. Their charlady, Mrs. Palmeira Groynes, is a criminal mastermind, responsible for large scale murder and mayhem, but only Twitten realizes it and the others don't believe him.

After the previous episode, Inspector Steine took false credit for shooting the villain and is enjoying his sudden celebrity (as the milk bar hero) in London. His boss sends an efficient secretary, Miss Lennon, to the station. She starts to make big changes that lead to Mrs. Groynes stalking out without notice (the end of an era).

A criminal who has cut off and boiled the heads of three policeman is conditioned in prison by psychiatrist Carlotta to go after Steine. An American professor is found dead at Gosling's department store. Mrs. Groynes (and those close to her) are threatened. Young femme fatale Adelaide Vine gets in on the action again.

The plot hops all over the place, and is tons of fun to follow, especially when Mrs. Groynes and Twitten share notes. In parallel, zebra crossing plans are being laid to put Steine in dire peril, and Mrs. Groynes' masterplan to rob Gosling's is coming to fruition. But her enemies have their own plan and it nearly succeeds.

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