In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed with only an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people's dreams.
In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin is a humble file clerk working for a huge and imperious detective agency, and all he knows about solving mysteries comes from filing reports for the illustrious investigator Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing, and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach. His only guidance comes from his new assistant, who would be perfect if she weren't so sleepy, and from the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection.
The Manual of Detection defies comparison; it is a brilliantly conceived, meticulously realised novel that will change what you think about how you think.
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Imaginative, fantastical, sometimes inexplicable, labyrinthine and ingenious...Great fun and very clever. My comparison? Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman - which is about as good as it gets - Observer
A wryly cerebral take on noir fiction...Separated conjoined twin gangsters, a duplicitous femme fatale and a nightmarish carnival owner inhabit the nocturnal, rain-soaked city where this clever, postmodern detective story is set - Financial Times
It is an elegant and stunningly imaginative fusion of detective and speculative fiction - Guardian
The plot's bursting with as many twists and surprises as you could hope for...It steams along the smooth rails of Berry's neatly constructed sentences, barrelling round each well-cambered turn with barely a judder - London Review of Books
Like Sin City, this is a noir fairytale, with the grey-scale, drizzly streets and shabby cafes contrasted by fluorescent, primary colour characters...Berry's work is reminiscent of the coolest young American novelists - Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Glen David Gold - in its sheer delight at how genre writing can be re-invigorated and re-imagined. The Manual of Detection makes the weird, fantastical world of the unconsciousness seem comically logical - like its subject, it is a dream - Scotland on Sunday
A clever, startlingly original blend of fantasy and crime - Waterstone’s Books Quarterly
I was impressed, besotted, and transported by The Manual of Detection. Such a great book! - Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club and Sister Noon
Inventive, atmospheric, and fiendishly delightful. If you've ever fallen under the spell of Borges, Ray Bradbury, or Angela Carter, I urge you to acquire your own copy of the Manual of Detection. Jedediah Berry's debut novel is a rare, strange thing - Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners
Richly imagined, genre-defying work...The Manual of Detection establishes Berry as a wholly original, brilliant new voice in fiction - Sabina Murray, author of The Caprices and A Carnivore’s Enquiry
The Manual of Detection is a dark and surreal tale with huge nods to Jasper Fforde, Raymond Chandler, and Douglas Adams, amongst others...It is written with style, wit and panache. An accomplished and intriguing read, it works very well - Bookseller
Clever, witty, and a joy to read... I loved 'The Manual of Detection's' mix of mystery and fantasy, and was impressed by its surrealism and strange cast of characters - http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com
About the Author
Jedediah Berry was raised in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New American Voices and Best American Fantasy. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he works as assistant editor of Small Beer Press.