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Duffy #2

Fiddle City

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The second crime novel by Dan Kavanagh. Duffy explores shading dealings at London's Heathrow Airport.

173 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1981

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About the author

Dan Kavanagh

14 books23 followers
Dan Kavanagh was born in County Sligo, Ireland, in 1946. He has been an entertainment officer on a Japanese supertanker, a waiter on roller skates at a drive-in eatery in Tucson, and a bouncer in a gay bar in San Francisco. He lives in Islington, North London, and works in jobs that (with mild paranoia) he declines to specify. Pseudonym of Julian Barnes.

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5 stars
11 (7%)
4 stars
56 (35%)
3 stars
76 (48%)
2 stars
12 (7%)
1 star
2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Vderevlean.
437 reviews139 followers
December 15, 2018
Restanțe la romane citite anul acesta:

Volumul 2 din seria lui Kavanagh (Julian Barnes în fapt) nu e la fel de grozav ca primul din serie, însă păstrează cinismul și inteligența personajului principal. Se simte un pic că autorul pare mai deștept decât personajele sale :)

În fine, trafic de droguri, ghinion, un Duffy blazat, mereu în căutare de amanți sau amante de o noapte, ceva violență și o traducerea destul de bună. Blazarea personajului principal se simte puțin și în intriga romanului care curge spre final fără prea mult suspans.
Profile Image for Sandra.
Author 12 books23 followers
January 3, 2016
It's the character of Duffy himself, odd and solitary, and the humour of his thought-processes that make him and his activities so compelling. There is always a teetering sense of possible failure which adds to the tension. Though I'm going to have to re-read the ending before I can be sure what happened, so subtle and smoky was it.
Profile Image for Jim.
670 reviews
April 17, 2020
"Maybe there was an entirely innocent explanation. There never was, in Duffy's experience; but try."

The ending faltered so that I should give it three; overall I really liked it, so it got four. Well researched about smuggling and informative about the mindset of cops and criminals...

"And no doubt he could have concluded that crime in its funny way, does pay. That would be just as logical, wouldn't it? And the logic would continue with the idea: it pays even more if you don't get caught. Duffy knew from experience how to read a criminal record. He did it as a policemen always do: reading any acquittals as convictions, doubling up the number of convictions, seeing the guilty pleas for what they probably were -- a way of getting off a heavier charge -- and filling in between the recorded convictions all manner of other, undetected crimes."

Duffy is an odd duck, unlike any fictional PI I've encountered, and the fact that most of the book is set in a dull workplace without being dull. Great turns of phrase and character work.

The sections about smuggling methods with Duffy's friend Willett from pages 90-98 and the manipulative interactions with Duffy's employer Hendricks, somewhere in the 60s, were admirably written.
Profile Image for Merilee.
327 reviews
July 31, 2012
Dan Kavanagh is actually Julian Barnes. This is a sequel to his sort of detective novel Duffy. I like the regular Julian Barnes much better.
Profile Image for Jon.
1,279 reviews
October 21, 2021
The second crime novel written by Booker-Prize winner Julian Barnes in the 1980s, under a pseudonym, and much more to my taste than the first one. The Fiddle City of the title is actually Heathrow Airport, which the detective reminds us is a city the size of Birmingham with a population that almost entirely changes every day. So there are lots of chances for things to fall off the backs of lorries or for shipping containers to get misplaced. Some extremely graphic descriptions of the horrific methods heroin importers used to get that drug into England. Duffy is not your usual private eye--a hard guy with eccentric methods but a heart of gold. He's bitter, deceitful, and vengeful in his drive for justice. Or perhaps his drive to get even. And after he learns the details about the heroin trafficking, his level of hatred gets pretty high.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
899 reviews38 followers
July 1, 2017
More hard-hitting, but pleasingly realistic investigation from bisexual, ex-policeman and current security firm boss (and sole employee) Duffy. This reissue is from 1981, with inherent references to the joys of pre-internet and mobile phone life. It's surprising anything got done to be honest - but at least he didn't waste his time surfing the net, and with only 3 tv channels too. Anyway this story sees Duffy take on a case involving dodgy freight shipments coming into Heathrow, after the car of one of the freight firm's employees is forced off the road, and the boss discovers that items are going missing. What starts as a simple catch-the-thief operation suddenly turns ugly as Duffy uncovers more underhand dealing and a violent network of criminals. Great, punchy writing, and a gritty and troubled hero keep the series fresh and alive.
7 reviews
October 1, 2019
Very enjoyable read.

How did the author come out with all these bizarre drug smuggling techniques, one very cruel ?

Amusing descriptions about ocd.
Profile Image for Socrate.
6,582 reviews134 followers
April 20, 2021
În ziua când l-au buşit pe McKay, pe Autostrada M4 nu s-au petrecut alte evenimente rutiere notabile. Adică pe porţiunea dintre Heathrow şi Chiswick; ceva mai spre vest începea felia altora, aşa că nu conta. Unde mai pui că era una dintre dimineţile acelea calde, pâcloase de august, când maşinile de poliţie, oprite pe platformele supraînălţate de pe marginea drumului, lenevesc la soare ca nişte şopârle, iar poziţia avantajoasă faţă de panglica de asfalt îngăduie o moţăială nepăsătoare şi furişată, cu şapca trasă pe ochi. Iar după o vreme, probabil spre 11:30, susurul şi pârâitul aparatului de radiorecepţie se estompează, pentru ca, treptat, aceste zgomote să fie acoperite total de sunetul radioului portabil, aflat în buzunarul uniformei şi potrivit pe un post care transmite un meci de crichet.
Şi nici automobilele nu creaseră necazuri. Până la 10, învârtejindu-se în miros de nicotină şi proastă dispoziţie, au dispărut până şi ultimii navetişti; aceştia aveau să revină abia peste şase ceasuri. Vehiculele comerciale, cele grele, de peste douăzeci de tone, se arătau neobişnuit de cuminţi: de vină era soarele, fără îndoială. A, să nu uităm cetăţenii: păi, în drum spre aeroport, aceştia erau prea speriaţi că-şi vor rata vacanţa ca să alerge cu mai mult de şaizeci la oră; în vreme ce la întoarcere erau atât de nedumeriţi că trebuie să circule pe stânga, încât o ţineau în viteza a treia tocmai până la Cromwell Road.
Aşa se face că poliţaii nu s-au prea bucurat când McKay a fost buşit, când un taximetrist care văzuse – pardon, nu văzuse nimic, de fapt, ci doar o maşină mototolită şi o urmă de vopsea pe parapet – a anunţat-o prin staţie pe centralista companiei, care a apelat poliţia, care a telefonat la Heathrow, care a transferat apelul către Uxbridge, care, după cel de-al treilea apel (Anglia 8 la 1, Boycott serveşte pentru Chapell 2: până şi partea aceea a zilei era promiţătoare), a reuşit să pună în mişcare echipajul moleşit şi laconic. Care l-a înjurat în gând pe McKay pentru că le stricase dimineaţa. Parcă o făcuse dinadins.
Profile Image for Oana.
86 reviews3 followers
October 16, 2022
Duffy is a former policeman turned PI who looks into theft in a Heathrow adjacent depozit.
Irony is part of the character's DNA, but you are quite uncertain if you should/could like him. But you do. Because, in the end, we all live in this city and that's how things are done.

Barnes tempo s quick, action based, yet still manages to build character as swiftly as Duffy sweeps his kitchen counter.
96 reviews
July 12, 2021
A dated private detective story which encompasses in a very plausible manner the speedier side of London in the 70s. Unlike most books you don't know what the main character is setting up until literally the last couple of pages. If there is a down side to it the main character sets off to sort one issue out but ultimately solves a completely different issue.
Profile Image for Stela.
909 reviews345 followers
June 1, 2018
Mai putin antrenant decît primul volum - lumea traficantilor de droguri nu mi s-a parut asa de bine reconstituita ca lumea prostituatelor din primul volum, dar suficient de interesant, totusi încît sa ma faca sa vreau sa citesc si a treia carte din serie.
Profile Image for Tim Trewartha.
94 reviews2 followers
July 9, 2018
Second book in the Duffy series. Not quite as good as the first (or as grotty), but still an entertaining read. Set at Heathrow Airport. Round this one up to 3.5 stars, if you please.
393 reviews1 follower
March 20, 2019
Another good procedural with lots of tips you might find interesting if you like true crime stuff
Profile Image for Mark Harris.
125 reviews1 follower
December 28, 2018
The second of four “Duffy” detective novels by Julian Barnes writing as Dan Kavanagh.
Profile Image for Lizzy Baldwin.
216 reviews6 followers
February 21, 2017
As the blurb suggests the book follows the hard-hitting but exciting investigation from the bisexual, ex-policemen and security firm owner/only employee Duffy. Hired by Roy Hendricks, following an almost hookup in a gay bar, Duffy is required to help Hendricks who is fed up with his freight going missing and his customers getting pretty annoyed. One of Hendricks employees has had a rather terrible accident on the M4 and so there’s a vacancy for Duffy. It soon becomes apparent there are a number of dirty dealings going on when a massive wodge of cash appears in Duffy’s locker. From then on we join Duffy’s investigation as he attempts to unearth what on earth is going on with the help of an incredibly downbeat security guard from Heathrow who has a surprising number of stories as to how someone can fiddle the airport and its staff.

Duffy is an incredible character; he has this brutish exterior but he’s also obsessed with cleanliness and he can’t anything ticking in his bedroom. Meaning that if there are any after-dark activities in Duffy’s bedroom they have to deposit their watching in a box in the bathroom. The writing has a coarse style that I really enjoyed and the dating of the book (the 1980’s) is very subtly working in with the use of telephone boxes and no mention of the M25. The humour is incredibly dry and basic but also a little wonderful. There are a number of scenes placed in a topless bar and the writing here is especially amusing. At one point I had to show T and we both dissolved into slightly disgusted giggles.

The writing is very distinctive and throughout it keeps a good pace and a really intriguing plot-line. The little stories woven in by the disgruntled security guy help to keep the mystery fresh and I thought that although the book was an easy read it definitely had a darker seedier side that darkened as I read to the end of the book. It’s also impossible to dislike Duffy

FINAL THOUGHTS

I thought this book was a lot of fun. I struggled a little at the beginning but it turned into a very interesting but dark humoured book. Pocketed with lots of twists and turns which Duffy helps to hold together. Incredibly glad I picked this up at the bookshop and now I think I might need to go back and add another of this author’s books to my collection.
Profile Image for mstan.
623 reviews10 followers
August 5, 2011
A surprisingly readable private eye story about smuggling at the Heathrow Airport, featuring the bisexual 'security' man Duffy. I had to request for this book from the Repository Used Book Collection at the library, and it looked so unattractive and old (the correct cover page is not the one pictured here) I was apprehensive. But Julian Barnes rises to the occasion and presents pretty interesting facts about working in the airport and how to pick out suspicious-looking characters (do a random sort - e.g. people in all-white clothes).
Profile Image for B.
2,056 reviews
December 28, 2008
FM One of several mysteries I've read by Dan Kavanagh, which is an alias for Julian Barnes, one of my favorite British writers. His mysteries are dark, full of drugs, sex, etc. but very funny as well.
Profile Image for Hatice.
65 reviews7 followers
February 20, 2015
Duffy serisinin ilk kitabı kadar olmasa da beğendim. Sona doğru olayların çözümlenmesinde açıklanmayan hususlar, okuyucunun yorumuna bırakılmış. Daha iyi bir final bekliyordum açıkçası... Fakat uyuşturucu baronlarının mallarını gümrükten akıl almaz geçirme yöntemleri insanı dehşete uğratıyor !
Profile Image for Robert.
175 reviews39 followers
May 16, 2011
Not as enjoyable as the eponymous first book in the Duffy series but pleasant enough. The unresolved ending was ambiguous both for the character and the reader.
Profile Image for Wilde Sky.
Author 16 books34 followers
March 30, 2015
A detective investigates a series of thefts at Heathrow and discovers something more sinister.

The story and writing were reasonable, but a lit dated (in my opinion).
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews

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