Quantum of Tweed: The Man with the Nissan Micra
London, Harper Collins, 2012, 74p
I had hoped this short story would be funnier than it turned out to be. The blurb spelt out a brilliant plot, full of comedy and irony, but the Quantum of Tweed was not what I had anticipated.
In a strange series of events, Albert Rossi is mistaken for a world-class assassin. He is in debt, due to the lack of custom at his Gentleman's Outfitters, so quashes his moral concerns and takes on the financially-rewarding challenge of professional murder.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, I found the plot wanting. This may be blamed on it being a "quick read", but I have read many brilliant short stories. The potential for comic genius was there, but the tone did not suggest confidence in the comedy. Rossi should have been likable and witty and camp, but was simple and underdeveloped. Even the chapter headings were disappointing - simply labelled "Chapter 1" etc., when they could have been developed into clever puns on classic spy titles.
I did enjoy the situations that Rossi found himself in - he is the luckiest of men. Though not well-trained or experienced, he manages to complete all the assassinations he is paid to do, through fortunate accidents and coincidences. If only the rest of the novel had been as strong.