Alan Zacher's book, I'm No P.I. is a down-to-earth story of fifty-something Tom Mayor, a live-at-home-with-his-mum loser who unwittingly sows the seed that he has the crime-solving ability of the Thin Man's Nick Charles and finds himself being offered a thousand dollars by a neighbour to prove her son innocent of killing his daughter.
So begins a comic tale of psychotic lesbians, a missing woman, a man on death row and a very randy but reluctant Private Investigator, who discovers along the way that to get the best results in his new line of work it helps if you're a very good liar.
Mr Zacher creates a very believable flawed character in Tom, and a mum where readers can find glimpses of their own mother. Indeed Tom's relationship with his mum is at the core of the book (she even saves his life!) As we follow Tom pounding the pavements through the mouldy suburbs of St Louis and the pristine streets of nearby Clayton we come to realise that Tom isn't just a work-shy bum living off his mum, but the man of the house who takes his mum every day to feed Dad, who suffers from Alzheimer's at the care home, and who keeps her well stocked in old movies.
The lasting impression left by the book is the insight into an ordinary life that we can all identify with, told with humour, a dash of sexual frustration and a lot of heart.