Monk in an old west-style gold town named Trouble? The same town where a relative of his named Artemis Monk was assayer back in the late 1800s? The same man who suffered many of the same afflictions as Monk plus shared his detecting skills? And missing gold from a train robbery dating back to 1962? And dozens if not hundreds of people streaming in and out of Trouble over the years looking for the missing gold?
This all sounds crazy. And like a great good time. And it is.
A former San Francisco cop and good friend of Captain Stottlemeyer is murdered in Trouble and the Captain asks Monk and Natalie to drive there and see if they can find out who killed him. And why.
For me this is the funniest Monk novel yet. Monk and his maladies have never before met so many insidious enemies. As usual it's up the the fetching, patient Natalie to push and pull him through the case but this time there's a point where she finds herself helpless--Monk vanishes. The Monk-Natalie relationship is the soul of these novels and here it's front and center.
Lee Goldberg's story is rich with lore about the old Gold Rush in general and mining towns in particular. It is equally rich in Monk lore. I can't think of any other mystery character who makes me laugh out loud as often as Monk does. And in the current novel Monk is loopier than ever. Thank God.
In the course of the novel you'll notice the surnames of certain mystery writers who are probably familiar to you. They just add to the spirit of witty fun that stretches from the first page to the last. A fine fine novel. I can't wait for the next installment.