Orion, £5.99, ISBN 0-575-40331-4
Comedy Mystery, 2001
The Flight of Lucy Spoon is an enjoyable ensemble farce with a touch of noir, my enjoyment slightly marred by the fact that most of the goonies here are so stupid that the ridiculous accidents they get into seem more like fait accompli rather than comedy.
Lucy Spoon is a this-close-to-menopause ex-hippie who wakes up one day and finally has the courage to walk out of her dead-end marriage to a jerk. She stumbles upon Jodie McDeal, a younger and prettier woman who has her car stolen, and offers to give Jodie a lift. Jodie turns out to be the recently discarded moll of the most infamous crime boss in Ireland, and Jodie has in her possession two kilograms of pure, potent cocaine. She hopes to use this stash as ransom for some money from her ex, Rogan Hogan. Rogan, however, sends his men in hot pursuit.
In the meantime, two bumbling kidnappers Corky and Bosco steal Lucy’s car in their attempt to kidnap TV station tycoon Monty. They never count on Monty’s trophy wife offering them a greater amount of money to kill off Monty, and they never certainly count on liking the sweet, oblivious old coot too much to kill the man.
Lucy’s car – and the trailer of Corky and Bosco – explodes in a freak accident, drawing the local cop to suspect that the trailer was a site for terrorist activities and Lucy a lesbian UVF mole and Jodie her lover/accomplice, lesbianism being the greater crime according to this wonderful cop.
And then there’s a missing crocodile on the loose.
If that’s not enough, there is Lucy’s old flame who has come back to this rusty backward area to drive a bus (don’t ask). Throw in an ambitious TV bimbo, and have everything come to a head when Lucy and Jodie board Lucy’s old flame Jake’s bus, Cody and Bosco – with Monty in tow – hijacking the bus most ineptly, and Rogan’s men in hot pursuit, and farce is just waiting to happen. If one puts drugs, ransom money, and guns in the same room, crap is definitely hitting the fan.
And it’s hilarious farce, I must say. It is also nice to see that Lucy and Jodie are actually two intelligent women without any concessions to “cuteness” that most chick-lit heroines suffer from. But like most ensemble stories, all the characters here suffer in terms of character development, and I don’t even know that one of the characters here isn’t human until it hits me in the face.
Still, I like this story, if only for the fact that it makes me laugh. True, it relies too much on people acting stupid at times to bring on the funnies, but it does entertain, so I guess that in the end, this book has succeeded in what it intended to do in the first place. This flight with Lucy Spoon isn’t spectacular, but it has enough moments of wit and ridiculous humor to keep me smiling for a little longer after the last page is done.