Five stars for everything . . . EXCEPT the narrator. He gets a zero . . . & there's so much of him. As another reviewer noted, these books are less about Inspector Hobbes & more, much more, about Andy. And I really, really regret that, as the rest of Inspector Hobbes is very good to excellent, with good writing, intriguing characters, quite a lot of humor, imaginative (though not very frequent) action scenes & acceptable mysteries. So sad.
Inspector Hobbes & his housekeeper are wonderful characters & I loved everything about these books . . . except the narrator, Andy. As a Watson to Hobbes' Holmes he can be forgiven his cluelessness & as an Arthur Dent (who I quite sympathize with) to Hobbes' Ford Prefect, he can be forgiven his 'nervous nature'. But he is also a slacker, an ingrate & a freeloader. And he's "accident prone" mostly because he's careless, lazy & takes no responsibility for himself. He could contribute quite a bit to the household in which he finds himself, but even when he makes the rare attempt, it is usually abortive thru lack of preparation or inattention.
I almost gave up on this book, but figuring that he seemed such a young man he might improve with exposure to the upstanding & compassionate Hobbes, I stuck it out to the end. And he did rise to the occasion when absolutely necessary. But I was mightily shocked when I found that he is supposed to be 37 years old! The scattering of references to his smothering mother, verbally abusive father & one single line about "what happened to [his] sister" (presumably tragic) weren't sufficient, for me, to counterbalance his unlikeability. Perhaps if more of his background had been interspersed in the beginning . . .
With the indications towards the end of book 1 that Andy could improve, I was hopeful when I began book 2. But though "mostly harmless" he continues to be pretty thoroughly selfish & whining. And altho thots of better behavior occasionally cross his mind, he rarely acts on even the smallest, like thanking the housekeeper. I became rather adept at skimming the pages of his "oh pity me & when's my supper going to be". But it's still irritating enough that I will not be continuing the series.