Comedy book review: Constable Twitten mystery series by Lynne Truss

Last updated on February 1st, 2024 at 11:34 am

Comedy book review: Constable Twitten mystery series by Lynne Truss

Are you in the market for a hilarious comedy series or thinking of a perfect gift for the comedy lover in your life? Well, I’ve got some insights to share! Last Christmas, my partner surprised me with Shot in the Dark, the first book in the Constable Twitten series. It piqued his interest as the third installment, Murder by Milk Bottles, had been Shortlisted for the Comedy Women Awards. In this review, I’ll share my thoughts on the series, whether it’s a worthy read, and if it makes a great gift.

Constable Twitten series (book 1-3) by Lynne Truss

Constable Twitten mystery Series explained?

The Constable Twitten series by Lynne Truss is a humorous collection of mystery novels set in the charming yet quirky town of Brighton; A Shot in the Dark (#1), The man that got away (#2), Murder by milk bottle (#3), and Psycho by the Sea (#4). These novels follow the adventures of Constable Twitten, a clever and observant police officer, as he tackles various cases that baffle the local police force. With wit, humour, and a sharp eye for detail, Constable Twitten unravels mysteries, solves crimes, and navigates the eccentricities of the town’s residents. Each book in the series offers a unique and entertaining blend of classic British crime fiction, eccentric characters, and a dash of seaside charm, making it a good read for fans of cosy mysteries and clever detective tales.

Is Constable Twitten a good comedy series?

Yes and no. I’ve read three books in the series. The first book had me laughing out loud, while the second book was good, it fell slightly short on the comedy front. The laughs pick up in the third book, and the characters show significant improvement.

Sergeant Brunswick’s character also becomes less problematic. Throughout the first two books, his fixation on younger women is portrayed as a character flaw. The books manage to address this issue through the writing style, with other characters acknowledging its inappropriateness and considering the 1950s setting. Nevertheless, as a woman, it made for an uncomfortable read. However, by the third book, the author sensibly altered the character’s preferences.

The comedy leans heavily into slapstick humour, with hilarious and outlandish murders and mysteries. I couldn’t help but feel for Constable Twitten because he’s perpetually surrounded by some rather clueless individuals. Inspector Steine, in particular, can be quite exasperating. A saving grace for the series is the character of Mrs. Groynes.

Her interactions with Constable Twitten are filled with wit and humour. The exchanges between them add a light-hearted and entertaining dimension to the stories. Mrs. Groynes’ eccentricity complements Constable Twitten’s more serious and observant nature, creating a dynamic and well-balanced character relationship.

Summary of the main characters in Lynne Truss mystery series

Constable Twitten: Constable Twitten is a diligent and observant police officer in the seaside town of Brighton. He’s known for his attention to detail and determination to solve crimes. Twitten’s character is marked by his commitment to his job and his desire to uphold the law, even when dealing with the eccentricities of Brighton’s residents.

Inspector Steine: Inspector Steine is Twitten’s superior officer. He’s portrayed as a somewhat bumbling and old-fashioned policeman. Steine’s character is often at odds with the modern world and the unconventional methods employed by Constable Twitten. Despite his quirks, he is genuinely invested in maintaining order in Brighton.

Sergeant Brunswick: Sergeant Brunswick is another member of the police force in Brighton. He’s a friendly and easygoing character who often provides comic relief in the series. Brunswick is known for his humorous and laid-back approach to policing, which contrasts with Twitten’s more serious demeanour.

Mrs. Groynes: Mrs. Groynes is a colourful and eccentric resident of Brighton. She plays the role of an office cleaning lady, often sharing her knowledge of the town’s secrets with the police. Mrs. Groynes adds a touch of quirkiness to the series with her peculiar habits and unique perspective on life.

Would I want the Constable Twitten series for a present?

Honestly, while there are better comedy books available, I did find some enjoyment in this series, and it did deliver a few good laughs. If you’ve ever lived in Brighton, you might understand more of the references and find it a funnier read. Ultimately, these books are undeniably steeped in English culture, with references and witticisms that might be best appreciated by readers of a certain age and living in the UK. If you or your partner have a taste for British humour, slapstick comedy, and books that are light on complexity, give this series a go.

Book ratings & bio

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A shot in the dark book cover by Lynne Truss

A shot in the dark rating

Genre: Cozy mystery, Crime, Humour, Historical Fiction.
My Score: 

Three Star Rating/5

Good Reads Score: 3.24/5. View A shot in the dark in Good Reads.
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon Kindle edition.

Brighton, 1957. Inspector Steine rather enjoys his life a a policeman by the sea. No criminals, no crime, no stress. 

So it’s really rather annoying when an ambitious – not to mention irritating – new constable shows up to work and starts investigating a series of burglaries. And it’s even more annoying when, after Constable Twitten is despatched to the theatre for the night, he sits next to a viscous theatre critic who is promptly shot dead part way through the opening night of a new play. 

It seems Brighton may be in need of a police force after all…

The man that got away book cover by Lynne Truss

A man that got away rating

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Humour, Historical Fiction.
My Score: 

Three Star Rating/5

Good Reads Score: 3.75/5. View The man that got away in Good Reads.
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon Kindle edition.

It’s summer in Brighton and the Brighton Belles are on hand to answer any holidaymaker’s queries , no matter how big or small. What’s the quickest way to the station, how many pebbles are on the beach and what exactly has happened to that young man lying in the deckchair with blood dropping from him?

Constable Twitten has a hunch that the fiendish murder may be connected to a notorious Brighton nightspot, but Inspector Steine is – as ever – distracted by other issues, while Sergeant Brunswick is just delighted to have spied an opportunity to go undercover…

Murder by milk bottle book cover by Lynne Truss

Murder by milk bottle rating

Genre: Cozy mystery, Crime, Humour, Historical Fiction.
My Score: 

Three Star Rating.25/5

Good Reads Score: 3.6/5. View Murder by milk bottle in Good Reads.
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon Kindle edition.

The August bank holiday is approaching and after two extremely high-profile murder cases, Constable Twitten is eagerly anticipating a quiet spell at work. But then they find the bodies – and the milk bottles.

Three seemingly unconnected victims – a hard-working AA patrolman, a would-be Beauty Queen, a catty BBC radio personality – have all been killed with the same, highly unusual murder weapon. Constable Twitten, Sergeant Brunswick and Inspector Steine are initially baffled, the town is alarmed, and the local newspaper is after all, what sells papers better than a killer on the loose?

Can our redoubtable trio solve the case and catch this most curious of killers before they strike again?

Psycho by the sea book cover by Lynne Truss

Psycho by the Sea rating

Genre: Mystery thriller, Crime, Humour, Historical Fiction.
My Score: I haven’t read the fourth installment of this series yet. I will update this page with a score once I have.
Good Reads Score: 3.77/5. View Psycho by the sea in Good Reads.
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon Kindle edition.

In the latest installment of this funny, charming and quirky series – longlisted for the acclaimed CWA Historical Dagger – our trio of redoubtable detectives are faced with the arrival in town of an escaped criminal with an unlikely penchant for boiling the heads of policemen…

It’s September in Brighton and the city is playing host to weeks of endless rain and lashings of villainy.

A trusted member of a local gang has disappeared part way through planning a huge heist; a violent criminal obsessed with boiling the heads of policemen has escaped Broadmoor and is rumoured to be headed towards the city, while at Gosling’s department store an American researcher has been found dead in the music section.

Inspector Steine has other things on his mind – since the triumphant conclusion to his last case, Steine has so many awards and invitations coming his way that he has had to take on a secretary – but Sergeant Brunswick and Constable ‘Clever Clogs’ Twitten are both on the case.

If only they could work out just who is behind these dastardly acts…

Happy reading!

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*MCs = Main characters, FMC = Female main character, POV = Point of view.

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