The only good spider is a dead spider – unless it’s Harry Webb!
Harry Webb is a spider (not my favourite species I might add!) with a nose for detection: he is, in fact, a private detective. on all his eight uppers until famous starlet Scarlet walks into his office, fluttering her wings and other things, promising him ‘green’ to find out who’s trying to take her out. Thus Harry loads his gun with spullets (spud bullets, spud being slang for potato in the title) and with the help of secretary Penny (a money spider) and new sidekick Marty, a fly (I wonder if that was pinched from Marty McFly in Back to the Future!) with a penchant for ridiculous disguises that never work, and embarks on one of his biggest cases of his life.
I absolutely loved this book. Written in a graphic novel noir style, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was set in downtown New York with its references to ‘green’ (money) and other American phrases like ‘doll’, but it is set in post-war Liverpool, England, late 50s/early 60s (the Beatles get a mention: correction, the Silver Beatles! Harry suggests they drop the ‘Silver’ and they might get somewhere) and the characters are well-drawn to the extent that you actually forget they’re insects. You wonder how they get away without being trodden on or splattered by humans, but that’s poetic licence for you. To Harry Webb and his associates, this is the real world, with real crimes to be solved. I laughed out loud at some of the lines, an example being the cab driver who tells Harry that he used to be a boxer: his mother was a butterfly, his father was a bee.
The next time I see a spider rushing across my carpet I might think twice before smacking it with my slipper as it might be Harry Webb on a case!
My only minor criticism is that the book could have had a tighter proof reading as some of the spellings and the punctuation fall down in places, but all-in-all it is a very enjoyable read.