Wentworth M. Johnson
I & W Johnson Books
383 Jackson St. West, Hamilton, Ontario Canada L8P 1N2
9781493680320 $17.10 (Can), $14.99 U.S., www.amazon.com
Wentworth M. Johnson hails from Canada, and is a prolific writer of mystery and science fiction novels. Born in England, Johnson is the great grandson of William Edward Bourne, playwright, dramatist, and producer. Johnson spent time in the Royal Air Force in Borneo, the South China Sea, and Nairobi. He moved to Canada in 1967 and worked first in munitions and lumber, then at a television station. After retirement he embarked on writing, flying scale model aircraft, collecting British stamps, and playing woodwind instruments, including the bagpipe.
"Edinburgh Cuckoos" is Johnson's third novel in the Bill Reyner mystery series. Bill Reyner is a rich, dashing, and scatterbrained private eye with a talent for getting himself in and out of scrapes, but with good results. He is a doting grandson to his extremely sharp grandmother, who cajoles and manages his adventures. Gran dispatches Bill and his English language slaughtering friend, Newf, to the Scottish Highlands to investigate a possible kidnaping/murder/identity swapping. Gran and her partner, ex-Detective Inspector Spadafora, operate a plush tearoom in England and must stay to tend their business. Dagwood Beamish, the missing woman's fiance, fills them in:
"His expression changed; you could see the distance in his eyes. 'One day, she read this advertisement in a magazine or something. She told me the idea had come to her to take a vacation. I wasn't invited.' A tear trickled down his face as he recalled the incident. 'I was against it right from the start but, well, what could I do. My post was to care for the house, while Miss cloe visited the old country. I rue the day. I knew something was terribly wrong when I met her on the homecoming. Faithfully, I awaited Cloe in the airport. She wore black.'"
Johnson's mysteries are full of wonderful backdrops, characters, and quirky situations. Bill Reyner is an original PI, and his friend Newf, never fails to entertain.