Detective comedy 1: Setting up the shabby detective

Setting up the shabby detective


The Falcon’s Malteser is a send up of detective stories such as The Maltese Falcon (see what they did there?) and plays with all the tropes of the genre. It has a shabby detective down on their luck, a low rent location, a strange client (with a stranger job), crime, mystery, intrigue… the whole nine yards. 

Let’s see how the story starts.

There’s not much call for private detectives in Fulham.

The day it all started was a bad one. Business was so slack it was falling down all around us. The gas had been disconnected that morning, one of the coldest mornings for twenty years, and it could only be a matter of time before the electricity followed. We’d run out of food and the people in the supermarket downstairs had all fallen down laughing when I suggested credit. We had just $2.37 and about three teaspoons of instant coffee to last us the weekend. The wallpaper was peeling, the carpets were fraying, and the curtains… well, whichever way you looked at it, it was curtains for us. Even the cockroaches were walking out.

The Falcon's MalteserAnthony HorowitzSource

Sounds grim, doesn’t it? 

Well… almost grim, anyway. We’re dealing with two genre types here: detective stories and comedy. The humour of this passage comes by exaggerating the detective’s situation.

Your turn

Let’s look at how The Falcon’s Malteser jokes with the tropes of detective fiction to create a fun tale. 

detective comedy

If you’re not used to either genre, don’t worry—we’ll talk a little about both.

What you’re going to need

Like what you see?

You’re not logged in!

If you want to save your writing, login and either assign this lesson to yourself or access it via your class.