I, Ira Retru Grade, was born with a question in my mouth – ‘What the f*** am I doin’ out here?’

This is the opening line, albeit slightly edited as it’s above the fold (sorry IR, this is a family blog) from the first in a new trilogy of comic detective novels told in the first person by Jewish Irish shamus, Ira Retru Grade. If the detective’s punning moniker makes you think this is going to be a Jasper Fforde clone, fear not – this is a wholly distinctive and much more ribald and scatological creation, a sort of Joycean detective story where the author’s love of language comes through loud and clear on every page. Definitely aimed at mature readers (i.e. the ‘F bomb’ gets dropped on the first page and then things really get spicy), this is currently available exclusively as an e-book and can be downloaded on phones, computers, Kindles and the like. Here comes the blurb:

Ballantyne-Bald_Bowelero_cover_small“I Retru Grade” is a pseudonym. His series is viewed as a comic work, the humour wacky, risqué and surrealistic – in cinematic terms, more Polanski/Mel Brooks than Lubitsch/Wilder perhaps. Language is used creatively – there are some neologisms, rare words, Yiddish and foreign language expressions and individual peculiarities of speech. The three stories feature the same Jewish-Irish wisecracking yarn-spinning shamus and two or three other individuals. The background and character of the private eye and of his Bohemian late mother are built up over the three stories, which are set in the City of Fex, a fictitious mid-European metropolis in the equally fictitious country of Fexacia. This city is viewed as a European melting pot equivalent to New York. The time is indeterminate.

In the interests of full disclosure, I admit to not only knowing the writer who ‘edits’ the series but also to liking the man a great deal as he is a real Mensch, through and through like a stick of Brighton rock. But don’t let that imagine that I have let my friendship overrule my brain and parked my critical faculties elsewhere because the book is a delicious read. Bursting with humour and intelligence, this is a real tonic, especially if you’re in the mood for something saltier, more pungent and altogether funnier than the norm. if you’re interested in a PI novel that has as much to do with Anthony Burgess’s ‘Nasdat’ argot from A Clockwork Orange as the hardboiled rodomontade of Raymond Chandler, then look no farther.

The next two volumes in the series, due to be published shortly, are Punschi Coins a Spin and Rogue Moyle. If you want to find out more about Grade’s adventures, view the homepage at, follow the author on Twitter or download the kindle edition here. You’ll thank me if you do and kick yourself if you don’t – really …

This entry was posted in 'In praise of ...', Ira Retru Grade, Jim Ballantyne. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to THE BALD BOWELERO by I Retru Grade

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Sergio – This certainly sounds like something different to the ordinary, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to keep it in mind next time I’m ready for something on the comically profane side. I have to say that the whole use-of-a-variety-of-language (and I don’t just mean the impolite words) angle intrigues me.

    • Thanks Margot – as the author is a mate I decided not to go into too much detail in fairness to him but different it is! Hope you are having a great time Down Under!

  2. TracyK says:

    Whoa, that is different. I have nothing against profanity at all, but the humor might go beyond my comprehension. Regardless, with your recommendation, I will give it a try. I have been branching out lately anyway, why not try this?

    Does this mean you have an e-reader now?

    • Love to know what you make of this – actually, no, made do with my Mum’s for now but am occasionally downloading straight to my PC though I still have trouble using it for long periods before eye strain kicks in I’m afraid. But friendship has its necessities after all!

  3. Pingback: PUNSCHI COINS A SPIN by I Retru Grade | Tipping My Fedora

  4. Pingback: ROGUE MOYLE by I Retru Grade | Tipping My Fedora

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s