The Falcon's Malteser

Author: Anthony Horowitz
Read by: Nickolas Grace
BBC Audio
RRP: 13.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8460 7133 1
ISBN-10: 1 84607 133 X
Available 05 February 2007

When vertically-challenged Johnny Naples entrusts Tim Diamond with a package worth over three million pounds, he's making a big mistake. For Tim Diamond is probably the worst detective in the entire world. Next day, Johnny's dead. Tim gets the blame, his smart, wisecracking younger brother Nick gets the package - and every crook in town is out to get them...

This tale, read on this four disc CD compilation by Nikolas Grace, is the first of Anthony Horowitz's stories about the Diamond brothers. Set in London, it tells the story of Tim Diamond, one of a pair of teen brother detectives, who is hired by a dwarf to protect a mysterious box. When their office is ransacked, Tim and Nick decide to open the package - only to discover a box of Maltesers. Nick's quick-thinking saves the Maltesers from Tim's stomach, but can he solve the mystery. Who was Johnny and why was he murdered only days after he employed Tim's services? Who is the Fat Man and what is he so desperate to find? Also, how can a box of Maltesers really be the key to a fortune? I suppose Forrest Edward Jr, John and Jacqueline Mars could probably answer that one.

Yes, I'm sorry. But I couldn't help wondering, while listening to The Falcon's Malteser, whether some sort of shady deal had been struck between Horowitz and Mars Incorporated. Was this story nothing but a free advertisement for the confectionery that claims to be "the lighter way to enjoy chocolate?"

Let's be honest here, this must violate any number of a dozen different advertising regulations. Not only that, but Mars and Horowitz have the cheek to get the public to pay to listen to it too. But, just for a moment, sweep aside this hard sell of confectionery to children and let's pretend that Horowitz uses another, made up, brand of confection - possibly with a yummy honeycomb centre.

The story is engaging and will certainly appeal to the young. Grace's reading doesn't seem to be quite as energetic as the Groosham Grange tales that are also released this month (February 2007).

Apart from having issues with the story's title, this is not a half bad yarn.

Pete Boomer

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