“Hilarious, engaging, and just the perfect cozy mystery” (Tabula Rasa Review of “Mr. Monk Helps Himself”

September 4, 2013

This book made me so happy. I suggest you read it, whether you’re typically fond of mysteries or not. I wish I could watch this book. I haven’t read the other books based on Monk (nor any other TV series, for that matter) but if they’re all this good, I’ve sure missed out on a lot. Monk was one of the few detective series on TV, where the detectives actually did detective work (and were damn good at it) with no help from ridiculously high-techie gadgets. There were neat puzzles, with clues strewn around, lovably comical characters and plots that weren’t so convoluted as to make any guesswork impossible.

Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad is quite the same as the TV series it’s based on. It’s hilarious, engaging and just the perfect cozy mystery – except it’s not just one mystery, it’s three; the suicide, the dead clown and some mysterious anonymous packages that Monk keeps getting in the mail. For those of us who know and love (sometimes) Monk, just the idea of him solving a clown mystery ought to be enough to grab the book. But what I liked the most is that even those who’ve never heard of Monk will enjoy this! The author gives plenty of background info.

Without revealing any details, all I can say is that the book is honest in its portrayal of both the good guys and the bad guys, whose actions and motives are neither over emotionalized nor justified. The book Monk is a little different from the TV Monk, in that he is a little less obsessive, although his list of phobias is still increasing. Captain Stottlemeyer is pretty much the same as he was before, which is not surprising at all. Randy Disher is absent, of course, and there’s a new lieutenant, Amy Devlin. Natalie, our narrator, is an altogether new person in the book, but she makes a good narrator; with funny comments and enough suspense to frustrate you, along with clues to keep you glued to the book, guessing until, of course, Monk declares, “Here’s what happened.” I stayed up late into the night reading, and finished it at one go. I was sorry the book ended, when it did and I can’t wait to read the sequel!