'A fascinating debut which combines madcap surrealism, film-noir and eroticism' - Guardian
Alongside the names of James Hadley Chase and Erle Stanley Gardner we must now add that of John Hartley Williams - though Mystery in Spiderville is no run-of-the-mill hard-boiled thriller. The décor is by Dali, the plot is a mixture of Breton and Burroughs, and the main character - the protean and unkillable Spider Rembrandt - has six toes, sleeps in a grave and dreams of congress with the pert and playful Reedy Buttons.
Sucked into the vortex of Spider's philandering mind is a narrator - sometimes Spider's adversary, sometimes his victim - who lies upon a bed brooding on the absence of a nameless, brown-haired woman. He, too, is protean: full of passionate longings and homicidal tendencies.
A surrealist film-noir that blends the forensic with the erotic, the seedy penny-dreadful and the lyric prose-poem, Mystery in Spiderville is one of the strangest, strongest and most arresting fictional debuts in years.
“Surrealist film noir that blends the forensic with the erotic”
“If there's been something missing in your life ever since William Burroughs went to the great needle exchange in the sky, then perhaps John Hartley Williams is the author for you”
“Nodding as much to William Burroughs as to Raymond Chandler”
“Probably the first crime novel to ally forensic procedures with lyrical poetry”
“This is the evil twin of the novel: a form locked in the literary basement that deserves to see the light of day”