The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

The Manual of Detection is one of those books you’ll find hard to classify. It’s somehow a detective story, but it’s not a typical one. Jedediah Berry’s story is a very unusual one; at times, it seems very surreal and you ask yourself what is true and what is not. In The Manual of Detection, nothing is quite as it seems and the reader finds himself caught in a world between dreaming and wakefulness, trying to find his / her way out of this dazzling labyrinth. I haven’t read such books before, so this was a new reading experience for me. That doesn’t imply that I didn’t like the book; in fact, I must say that I really enjoyed it, precisely because it was so unusual and illusive. But now let’s have a look at the plot:

The story introduces us to Charles Unwin, a clerk who works at a detective agency in an unnamed rainy metropolis. After twenty years of clerical work, he finds out, to his amazement, that he has been promoted detective. But the protagonist isn’t really happy about his new position and he is determined to do what is asked of him so that he can return to his old satisfying clerk job as soon as possible. In order to do that, he has to find out what happened to Sivart, the detective he used to clerk for. Armed with the manual of detection, Unwin searches for clues and tries to find out the truth about Sivart’s mysterious disappearance. On his journey, he finds himself entangled in a strange world of somnambulists, criminals and femmes fatales who are deceitful and harmful. Unwin has to intrude into the dreams of a murdered man, but he needs to be careful, since danger awaits him everywhere. What is real and what is not; and whom can he really trust in this deceptive city? Unwin’s questions will soon be answered as the protagonist digs further into a gripping dream world full of surprises and dangers.

Jedediah Berry’s tale is very imaginative and creative and it will appeal to everyone who likes to read about surreal themes. The Manual of Detection is a bizarre book, but at the same time, it’s a fascinating work that I enjoyed very much!



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vivienne
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 11:18:43

    I like bizarre! I have seen this one making its way around the blogging world recently, where quite a few people have purchased it. As of yet, no one has read it, so pleased to see a review of it.

    I have just finished The Brontes Went to Woolworths and that was a strange mixture of reality and daydreaming, where at times I couldn’t work out what was real and what was fantasy. Your book seems to have a similar feel to it.


    • Andreea
      Mar 05, 2010 @ 08:56:10

      I think you might actually like this book! As to The Brontes Went to Woolworths – I will read it soon and I am really eager to find out how it is and if I will like it!


  2. Lua
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 17:53:03

    I’m so glad you reviewed The Manual of Detection! 🙂 I love unusual detective stories where we can never be quiet sure of what’s real or not or weather our main character is sane or not… I am a HUGE Edgar Allen Poe fan so I guess that speaks for it self.
    “unusual and illusive” are the key words for me, now I have to add it to my list…:)


    • Andreea
      Mar 05, 2010 @ 08:57:18

      I like Poe as well, and I think that you’ll enjoy this book. I hope you’ll get the chance to read it in the future!


  3. jo
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 22:45:11

    I think this is going on my list. I do like books that involce figuring out whats real and whats not!


  4. Nymeth
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 11:08:08

    This definitely sounds original! The way you described it reminded me a little bit of The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor. Not that they’re similar – it’s just that that’s another one of those book that completely defy clarification.


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