Monday, September 18, 2023

Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: The Vinyl Detective: The Run-Out Groove by Andrew J. Cartmel

Andrew J. Cartmel is a British script editor, author and journalist. He was the script editor of Doctor Who between 1987 and 1989. He also worked as a script editor on other television series, as a magazine editor, as a comics writer, as a film studies lecturer, and as a novelist. The Vinyl Detective, whose name is never revealed, is a specialist in old and rare vinyl recordings. His sidekicks are his girlfriend Nevada, who haunts the charity shops for vintage clothing, and Tinkler, a computer whiz and collector of vintage rock memorabilia. Their friend Agatha Dubois-Kanes collects vintage Penguin paperbacks. Their various hobbies engender a great interest in the thrift shops and estate sales of London.

In The Vinyl Detective: The Run-Out Groove (Titan Books, 2017) John Drummond and Lucy Tegmark approach the Vinyl Detective to hire him to help with the book on Valerian, a famous rock singer of the 1960s, that Lucy’s father, a journalist who followed Valerian’s band, had started but dropped after Valerian’s sudden death. Drummond is the singer’s brother who wants to find Valerian’s child who disappeared about the same time Valerian died. Drummond also wants a 45 single that was due to be released at the same time as his sister’s last album but in view of her death, the record company destroyed most of the copies. Tegmark has a wealth of original source material that needs to be verified and prioritized. Drummond thinks that the three lines of research overlap and that the Detective can assist with them.

Tracking down people who knew the singer proved to be more difficult than expected. The Detective did manage to locate the photographer who shot the big rock groups of the time, Valerian’s psychiatrist, and some of her friends. None of them have worn well. When the Detective manages to interview a few of them, he hears a different theory about the child from each person. The 45 single was a little easier to find but someone else wanted it too. The Detective’s apartment was thoroughly tossed, as was the shop of the record seller where they found it. They found themselves locked into a house set ablaze in one scene and under attack by a goose trained to guard her home in another.

The book is full of references to the English music scene of the 1960s with its personalities. It’s worth reading just for the social history. The complicated Drummond family story alternates between the preposterous and the somber. The antics of The Detective and his friends are entertaining and the ending was ingeniously plotted. The seventh book in this very good series is scheduled for publication in April 2024. Recommended.


·         Publisher: Titan Books (May 9, 2017)

·         Language: English

·         Paperback: 320 pages

·         ISBN-10: 1783297697

·         ISBN-13: 978-1783297696

Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2023 

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.


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