Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Book review: Murder Most Fab



Murder Most Fab
Author: Julian Clary
Genre: Crime, Comedy


I told you 2013 has been a good year to me book-wise. Another nice reads that I encountered when I was wandering in the library is Murder Most Fab, which is an obvious play on “murder most fowl” and since it’s Halloween, this along with Anna Dressed In Blood shall be on my pending list of book reviews. I picked up this book and read the first page and the title, the cover and the easy every-day laced with wit made me assume that it’s a Pre-teen novel. It is not. 


Murder Most Fab is told from the point of view of Johnny Debonair, who has been convicted for being a serial killer. In most books where the serial killer is the narratorial voice, you would accept very serious moral or philosophical debates, grave  psychological insights into twisted minds or at least a plot where the serial killer is the victim. Not in this book. What I loved (and is also, at the same time, very horrifying) about this book is that it tells the story in a tone full of humour and trivializes all the serious notes that an ordinary confession story holds.



The book begins with Johnny clarifying why he did what he did, how he is not a “serial killer” in the traditional sense that his murders did not follow any pattern nor does he have any blood lust. He sees his murders as something he just had to do. Then we learn about him… Johnny was an illegitimate son of a mentally unstable woman called Alice, who was all about the nature-loving and free love. Alice is the daughter of some wealthy (but traditional) people in London and as she is mentally unstable, both she and her son live in a cottage (that, along with every other expense, is paid off for them by Alice’s parents) in an English village. The only other relative aside from his lunatic, hippy mother that Johnny has ever met is Alice’s mom, his grandma. This gives him the sense that Alice’s parents aren’t happy with his status as an illegitimate.


Anyways, Johnny is very close to his mom and one day his world is turned upside down. He is called to the principal’s office while at school one day and is told that his mother is suddenly very unwell and is to live with his grandmother for some time. Turns out that his already crazy mother had consumed some fly agarics, began hallucinating and decided it’s a great idea to strip naked and climb on the village clock tower for the world to see. By and by Johnny grows up and discovers that he is gay, a fact he doesn’t share with anyone for fear of being made fun of. 


One day, in his teens, he encounters Timothy, the son of a rich family and the two begin an affair that only Alice knows of (and is supportive). Ultimately, giving into family, class and social pressure, Timothy dumps Johnny. To get over his heartbreak, and make something of himself, Johnny goes to London to study to become an actor, only instead ending up being a gigolo instead. 


His life changes when one day he one of his clients who is suffering from Cancer and nurses a strangulation fetish begs Johnny to kill him off in a role play. Thus begins Johnny’s career as a killer. Leading a double life as it is, Johnny further becomes a popular TV celebrity and is forced to lead a third reality—that of a heterosexual playboy with no dark past.

Murder Most Fab is a fun book to read and despite its light and often hilarious tone, makes the readers think. It’s a dark comedy and has a lot of LOL moments. In Johnny’s world, everyone ultimately knows everyone and way too many people have had clandestine affairs with a shockingly same family tree. On the whole, it is a light read without being nonsensical. 

My ratings for this book: 7/10-- fun, light read. Recommended. :)

Other book reviews:
1. Wives of Bath by Susan Swan
2. Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
3. My Best Reads 2012