A young City worker tells detectives that he has been shot by somebody in a vintage car; but the first person to find the victim remembers him describing the car as ‘ochre’:
– Are you sure?
Hawthorn looked at Child. He was grinning.
– Do you think he might have said old car?
– Old car?
– Old car.
The eponymous detectives in Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child spend much of the novel negotiating these tangles of language. Which ought to be discouraging. The banal poetry of that dialogue, with its mutating repetitions, seem old-fashioned – cod Beckett or, worse, Pinteresque: an antique example of a particular sort of